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Town hit by second shock business closure in less than a month

PUBLISHED: 10:36 25 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:11 25 September 2019

Sheringham cafe Rallentando, which has closed down, leaving the high street with two empty shops. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham cafe Rallentando, which has closed down, leaving the high street with two empty shops. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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Sheringham has been hit by the sudden closure of another High Street business, just weeks after staff at a neighbouring confectionary shop learned they were to lose their jobs when an estate agent turned up to put a 'to let' sign in the window.

The sign in the window of Sheringham cafe Rallentando, which closed without warning at the weekend. Photo: KAREN BETHELLThe sign in the window of Sheringham cafe Rallentando, which closed without warning at the weekend. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Long-standing coffee shop and pizzeria Rallentando, which was taken over by local man David Mills four years ago, closed down without warning at the weekend, leaving shocked customers asking whether rising business rates - or the Sheringham sinkhole - could be to blame.

The sudden closure comes just four weeks after Yorkshire-based confectionery company John Bull took the decision to shut nearby Fudgetastic, citing a fall in sales.

Jane Flanagan and Kelly Mileham, who work at High Street sweet shop Fudgetastic, which will be closing down on September 30.
Photo: KAREN BETHELLJane Flanagan and Kelly Mileham, who work at High Street sweet shop Fudgetastic, which will be closing down on September 30. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

However, the company, which has 11 stores across the country, failed to inform shop manager Jane Flanagan and her deputy Kelly Mileham of the plans until a week after an estate agent's board was put in the window.

A High Street trader, who did not want to be named, said the "overnight" closure of Rallentando had been a shock.

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"The first we knew about it was when a notice went up in the window, we knew they were selling, but we didn't expect it to be so soon," the business owner added.

The sign reads: "Sincere apologies to all of our regular customers but Rallentando has now closed. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support."

Among the dozens of comments bemoaning the loss of the cafe on Facebook were a number asking if the town, which boasts more than 50 catering establishments, had more coffee shops than it could sustain.

Others wondered whether the closure of Rallentando was down to rising overheads, with one person speculating that: "a big hole in the ground didn't help much".

However Mr Mills's mother and step-father, Kate and Paul Marriot, who own the shop and upstairs flat, said that after they decided to sell the former bank, their son felt that, rather than renew the café's lease with a new landlord, he would prefer to close.

"After lots of contemplation, he thought this was a good opportunity to go off and do something else," Mrs Marriot said. "The whole building will be for sale with vacant possession and freehold so, at this stage, we have no idea what it will become in the future."

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