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Elmsett Village Stores, between Ipswich and Hadleigh, forced to cease trading after income plummets due to extended road closure

A family-run village shop has shared its devastation at its impending closure this weekend, after deeming the business no longer viable, in the midst of an ongoing road closure.

Elmsett Village Stores announced it will shut permanently after its final day of trading on Saturday, citing a succession of difficult circumstances over the last three years.

The shop was placed up for sale following a 37 per cent drop in income, due to a huge reduction in footfall into Elmsett, caused by the closure of The Street in nearby Aldham since November.

Julian Edwards and Sasha Lawrence run Elmsett Post Office and Shops. Picture: Sasha Lawrence
Julian Edwards and Sasha Lawrence run Elmsett Post Office and Shops. Picture: Sasha Lawrence

However, with no prospective buyers forthcoming, the owners confirmed they could no longer sustain the store’s financial losses, and would have to cease trading.

In a notice to customers, Sasha Lawrence – who runs Elmsett Village Stores with partner Julian Edwards – said they had been ‘so excited’ to take over the shop in April 2021, but could ‘never have foreseen the sequence of events’ that followed.

This included Julian suffering heart failure within the first week of trading, with the subsequent complications leaving him unable to work full-time to this day.

The couple then saw running costs increase as inflation soared in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and they were also forced to close the post office aspect of the shop last year, due to insufficient funds.

Sasha said: “Then, of course, came the road closure, which instantly reduced our revenue by a quarter from day one, resulting in a loss of cash flow. There is still no date for opening the road.

“We cannot sustain the losses any further. To avoid bankruptcy, we have no choice other than to close the shop down completely.

“The shop is up for sale. Unfortunately, there has been no interest at all. We are a family-run business, and our family ultimately must come first.

“With continued decline in revenue, we have been forced to make this decision before we lose everything.

“We are so very grateful for the support from our loyal customers, our incredible local suppliers – all 17 of them – and the amazing team who’ve worked in the shop.

“We will miss your faces, the wonderful support from the children of Elmsett and our regulars.

“We are truly devastated that our dream of building a dynamic village shop has crashed on the rocks, and we are so sad that we cannot continue to serve you.

“We have been through so much as a family since moving to Elmsett, and we will appreciate your understanding and kindness.”