Loyal staff at Greenwoods Menswear, in Market Place, said they were ‘devastated’ by the closure which company bosses said was mainly due to the high rent, with other contributory factors including a drop in footfall.
Greenwoods commercial manager Gordon Naisbitt said: “Melton’s a lovely market town and we didn’t really want to leave. We tried to renegotiate with the landlord but it comes down to the rent and the lease.
“If you asked all the shops in the town I think they would say they have seen a drop in footfall. I think councils in market towns like Melton can help prevent more closures by doing something about the parking.
“They should be looking at free parking to get people into the towns, then the shops would be here and taking money.”
Among the Greenwoods staff to be made redundant is Alan Tomkins who had worked at the store for 10 years.
He said: “No-one likes to be made redundant, you feel as if you’ve failed. We’ve always served our customers with a smile and looked after them, a tradition which is dying out.
“A lot of our regular loyal customers will be devastated we’ve closed because there’s no-one else in the town who does the types of line we do.”
Alan’s colleague Deborah Leeder, who has also lost her job, said: “We’re absolutely devastated. We’re like family here and the people we’ve served were more like friends than customers.”
Steve Gamble was the store’s manager for seven years and has been involved in the menswear business in Melton since 1978.
He said: “We want to thank all our customers over the years and wish them the best in the future. I’d also like to thank the loyal staff who have provided service to those customers.”
Despite the sad news of the store’s closure Mr Naisbitt said the shop ‘might come back’ to Melton in the future if a unit of the right size became available and the rent for it was acceptable.
He added: “Although we’re leaving now that’s not to say we won’t be back and, when we do, we will come back stronger.”
Greenwoods, a Yorkshire company, first started trading in 1860.
The nearest branch to Melton will now be in Market Harborough on High Street. There are also branches in Loughborough, Leicester and Grantham within 15 miles of Melton.
For more information visit www.greenwoodsonline.com