Sheffield’s oldest shop closes today

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AFTER 132 years in business, Sheffield’s oldest shop - Pollards Tea & Coffee - is to close its doors.

OWner Simon Bower has described the decision to close as a ‘terribly hard’ one after watching the shop fall victim to delayed plans to reinvigorate an area of the city centre.

“The decision comes following years of turmoil for the business,” he said.

“In 2006/2007 there was a great retail area around Pinstone Street and Cambridge Street and then many of the buildings were bought. The shops were closed down and we found that people didn’t have a reason to come to this area of the city centre.

“I have been losing £5,000 a month, for the past two years. There’s only so much money I had available to fund the shop.”

The Sevenstone regeneration project, which was designed to redevelop The Moor retail area of Sheffield, was put on hold in 2008 due to the economic slump.

Sheffield Council then funded a project enabling local artists and community groups to use vacant shop units to promote their work. Despite the council’s effort to entice shoppers to the area Mr Bower said the idea had only dressed the windows and ignored the issue.

Mr Bower said the closure of the shop had come after years of turmoil for the business.

“We are a destination shop for some people, however we need passing trade,” he added.

The company which was founded by Simon’s great-great grandfather Joseph Pollard in 1879, on the same premises on Charles Street, will leave 18 employees redundant, one of them with 26 years’ service.

“Every one of them is like family to me,” said Mr Bower. “It was a dark day for me, having to tell them. All of my employees have given me their all.”

Despite being Sheffield’s oldest shop, this alone has not been enough to bring in customers.

Although the shop will closes this week, the company will continue in a wholesale capacity, selling tea and coffee.