The closure of Holbeach Bakery has been confirmed this week, with the loss of six jobs.
Customers first learned the news on Christmas Eve from bakery owner Evelyn Gilbertson (60) of Holbeach who made the decision to close the shop in High Street due to her own ill health.
It was one of those situations where we couldn’t afford to hire someone to do all the hours of work that I didEvelyn Gilbertson, ex-owner of Holbeach Bakery
Four months earlier, staff were handed a two-year lease extension by the property’s owner, Holbeach businessman Ashley King.
Mrs Gilbertson said: “Recently, I’ve had to go into hospital twice and it was one of those situations where we couldn’t afford to hire someone to do all the hours of work that I did.
“Also, we hadn’t got round to renewing the lease and we thought it better not to continue with the business.
“We thought long and hard about it because Mr King had given us a lease extension last August.
“But from us saying then that we would be willing to carry on, I’ve had to go into hospital twice and then told by the doctor that the work I was doing was no good for my health.”
Holbeach Bakery first opened in November 2010 when market stall trader Rob Wade was encouraged to transfer his pitch at the town’s Thursday and Saturday markets into a shop.
At the time of opening, Mr Wade said: “A lot of people who came to the stall said they would like to see a bakery in the town.
“I’ve never had a shop before so this is new ground for me.”
Mrs Gilbertson took over the shop four years ago and its selection of cakes and pastries proved popular with customers.
Out of the two bakers and three part-time staff who worked at the bakery with Mrs Gilbertson, two have since managed to find other jobs.
“When we closed on Christmas Eve, a lot of customers gave the staff and myself cards and gifts,” Mrs Gilbertson said.
“Closing Holbeach Bakery wasn’t a decision we made lightly but at the end of the day, we couldn’t find anyone who was willing to take it over.”
Under the ownership of Evelyn Gilbertson, Holbeach Bakery made regular donations of bread and cakes to All Saints Church which runs a foodbank, cafe and credit union.
Mrs Gilbertson said: “The bakery holds its own as a business and because of the generosity of our customers, who were so lovely and loyal, we were able to do little bits for the community through the church and foodbank.
“I have a grandson who will be starting a catering course at college later this year and it would have been lovely for him to have done something at the shop.
“That’s why I was dearly hoping that somebody would have taken it on, but no one came forward and now it’s too late.”
Rev Rosamund Seal, vicar of Holbeach, said: “Our foodbank clients were very grateful for being able to have bread from Holbeach Bakery and wheatsheaf loaves at Eastertime that we could use for residents at our care homes.”