STAFF are uncertain about the future of their jobs after Gloucester Antiques Centre’s sudden closure yesterday.
Workers were greeted by locked doors and notices on the doors saying bailiffs were on their way to clear the shelves. The 23 employees there do not know if they have jobs to return to after Gloucester Quays terminated the lease on the long-standing business.
Both the owner of the antiques centre and management at Gloucester Quays shopping centre said it will reopen.
A letter on the door yesterday said it would in future be under the direct management of Gloucester Quays LLP.
Another apologised to customers and dealers for the inconvenience
Evan Maindonald is the owner of the business and said he had been unable to speak to anyone at the Quays about what was going on. “We have been in negotiations with the Quays about the lease for some considerable time,” he said. “That’s as a result of what were some pretty disappointing levels of footfall against what we were promised by the Quays. My understanding was those negotiations were ongoing but the Quays seem to have taken a different view. Until Gloucester Quays enter into some dialogue with me there’s not a lot more I can say. We are trying everything we can to get it reopened.”
He said he understood the Quays wanted the centre reopened “within a week” and another letter to staff and dealers at the centre confirmed they hoped to reopen ‘as soon as possible’.
The Quays owns the building but Mr Maindonald owns the equipment to run the centre, he added.
A statement from Gloucester Quays centre manager Richard Rawlings said: “Gloucester Quays management have today effected the forfeit of the lease on the Antiques Centre. 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.
“The Antiques Centre has benefited from on-going year-on-year increases in footfall and is ideally positioned to take benefit from the three million visitors in 2013 that will rise to four million in 2014.”
The Antiques Centre is one of the largest and longest running in the country and has around 80 dealers who buy and sell collectables there, renting space from Mr Maindonald’s umbrella company. Gloucester city council leader Paul James said he hoped a resolution would be found.