HOPES are high that the doors of the Gloucester Antiques Centre will reopen within days.
Staff are riding a storm that has erupted between the Antiques Centre owner Evan Maindonald and Gloucester Quays, which terminated his lease on the property suddenly on Monday.
General manager Stephen Zacaroli said: "What we have here is a dispute and these are difficult circumstances.
"We want to get it open as quickly as possible.
"If this place closed it would have a huge impact on the city as it is probably the second biggest attraction after the cathedral.
"We will get it back open. I wish I had a crystal ball to say when but I don't."
He sought to reassure the 80 dealers trading from the centre that all of their stock would be protected.
Some of his 20-strong team also manned the doors to chat to customers who came from afar without knowing about the sudden closure.
Dealers expressed their shock.
Heather Armes, from All Is Green antique collectibles, said: "I'm shell-shocked. I didn't know about it. I've had a stand there for three months and I was about to go down later to take some more stock. I'm very concerned because I've got a lot of stock there."
Greg George, owner of Steven Lewis Antiques, said: "I feel bad for the business as a whole. It is a bad time to close because trade is picking up at the moment. It has come as quite a surprise."
Management at Gloucester Quays yesterday remained tight-lipped over what they plan to do next. A day earlier, manager Richard Rawlings said: "Peel Outlets are committed to an Antiques Centre remaining at Gloucester Quays and we believe the centre will thrive with the right management, investment and marketing support."
Vic Foster, owner of antique centre Upstairs Downstairs, on Severn Road, sought to reassure his customers that they were not affected by the closure of rival Gloucester Antiques Centre.
He said: "We have been a separate entity from the Antiques Centre for 15 years."