A social enterprise cafe that helps train young cooks is to shut following a lack of footfall caused by the closure of a neighbouring supermarket.
The Gingerbread Cafe in Polmont’s shopping centre will close its doors on August 28 due to “mitigating circumstances” – one of which is the falling number of customers after the Co-op shut in mid-June.
The store is being taken over by Aldi but it will not open until some time next year meaning less people are visiting the shopping centre.
Owners Ania and Frazer Sandland say they cannot now sustain the cafe financially or provide an environment to train young people with less people using the business.
The not-for-profit company was voted as best social enterprise by both Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce and The Falkirk Herald last year due to the services it was providing for the local community, which included jobs training, community and family-friendly events, an external catering service, a playroom and community workshops.
While the cafe will close, the social enterprise will remain open with events planned elsewhere in the district. The cafe is one of five units situated next to the former Co-op and once it closes will leave just three left open – Wm Holleran & Sons Butchers, JS Barbers and the Four In One takeaway.
The two other closed units are Loves the newsagent, which shut last month, and Scotbet bookies, which has been vacant for a few years.
Ania said: “We are devastated it has come to this but we just can’t manage to keep the cafe open. Aldi isn’t opening until next year and we just can’t sustain it until then.
“The closure of the Co-op has affected everyone here. There is just not enough to draw people in now. We would like to thank everyone for their support over the past three years. Everything will be half price on our last day in the cafe.”
Polmont Councillor Malcolm Nicol is urging the community to support local businesses. He said: “I am very disappointed the Co-op closed and it will take Aldi so long to open, but that is unavoidable.
“I would encourage the community to support the fantastic local businesses we have through these hard times.”