DISMAYED villagers woke up yesterday to find Hardwicke’s only convenience store has been shut down by its bosses.
The trouble store, in Elmgrove Road East, has had bare shelves for months and the staff claim they have not been paid since July.
Villagers, who were hoping that the store and post office would keep going, were greeted with a ‘closed until further notice’ sign yesterday.
A rescue plan, which involves moving in One Stop Shop as new tenants, is on the cards according to Mike Reardon, whose pension fund is the leaseholder.
The board of the firm are said to be meeting on January 15 to discuss the deal.
The current tenants, Heritage Retail, are said to have bailed out of their tenancy in December after months of running down the shop.
Mr Reardon said: “Heritage have decided to do their own thing and decided to run the shop down.
“We want to see if something can be done in the interim period as I know the shop is valuable to the community. We want to make sure the post office stays open.”
Hardwicke Parish Council chairman David Mossman said that he was fighting to secure a shop and post office for the village.
He said: “We are all very concerned about what is happening as so many people rely on the shop and post office. The nearest other post office is in Quedgeley which is too far for many residents.
“It seems to be a very complicated situation but I am doing what I can to keep a store in the village.”
A spokeswoman for the Post Office said that they had no plans to close any post offices and they would usually look at relocating a post office if a store closed.
It comes as a plan by Quedgeley Methodist Church to buy the nearby Starting Gate pub, which could have provided a new room to house a shop and post office, fell through at the eleventh hour.