Cafe to shut for good after eight years
- Credit: JILL GOUDE
A community cafe in the Fens that has raised over £10,000 for charity in eight years is being forced to close.
The Coffee Tree Xperience in Guyhirn, which had a pre-pandemic annual turnover of £150,000, will shut after the site owners declined to renew their lease.
Five members of staff will be made redundant as a result of the permanent closure, according to Jill Goude, whose daughter Jo runs the cafe with her dad Neal.
The family says it is a huge blow, especially as they had redecorated the cafe - which has been described as the Ace Cafe of the Fens - last summer and fitted a new kitchen.
They were also planning to host an upstairs cabaret, outdoor cinema and camping on the green this summer.
Jill said: "We just wanted there to be something that Guyhirn people could have as an alternative to the pub or Play2Day - but all of that is gone.
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"We can't recoup any money that we've put into it over the last eight years and, now, we're not in a position to do anything."
She added that many of the family's belongings - including sentimental items - are still inside the building.
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However, they cannot access these as the locks have been changed.
Having taken over the former sex shop eight years ago, Jill said: "We've rescued the building and the reputation of Guyhirn because it was just known for 'oh that's the place with the sex shop'.
"The whole area was happy when that closed and was even happier when we reopened the building as a coffee shop.
"We've done such a lot for everybody; we've had funerals, weddings, parties, memorial events, bikers.
"We're not just taking money," Jill added; "we have collected money for Macmillan and the Magpas air ambulance.
"What's saddest, though, is that it was in memory of my mum - so it's a real shame that it's coming to this."
The building is owned by Platinum Retail Ltd who bought Guyhirn Service Station in June 2018 for £2.2 million.
We have approached the company for comment.