AN ETHICAL shop and café on The Pantiles has closed following struggles with the cost-of-living crisis and recovering from the lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Zero Waste Company confirmed it has ceased trading and is being placed into liquidation after the rise in cost and effects of lockdown had made the business financially unviable.
It is the second shop on The Pantiles to shut in a month following the closure of Pizza restaurant, Vintry.
In a statement on Saturday (February 18) owners Holly Watson and Charlotte Bowyer said: “We are heartbroken to announce that Zero has had to close its doors from today.
“We have fought and fought for so long to keep our business going but have had to finally admit defeat for the sake of our staff, our families and honestly, for our mental wellbeing.”
Opening in 2019, the business partners said they have been ‘hit [with] a challenge of epic proportions’ as the Covid-19 pandemic locked down the country and they were forced to shut their shop.
Ms Watson and Ms Bowyer explained: “Despite continuously changing our business model to meet the market demands, we have had to face more and more challenges with a war, petrol crisis, energy crisis and now a cost-of-living crisis.
“Faced with a rise in our business rates and the doubling of our energy bill this year, our small business just isn’t viable.”
The Zero Waste Company was an ethical emporium and vegetarian café with aim of providing sustainable alternatives to their customer and reducing plastic waste.
The retail space sold a range of ethical goods such as candles, gifts, jewellery and homeware from local retailers and independent brands.
They also provided an essentials re-fill station and ran a green kitchen serving light lunches, warm coffees, and homemade cakes.
The venue was also a registered warm space, offering members of the community a safe place to go to keep warm amid the cost-of-living crisis.
Ms Watson and Ms Bowyer thanked their customers on Instagram and Facebook saying: “Many of you have been loyal and supportive customers and friends of Zero over the last three years or so, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who has come through the doors and given us their love, community spirit and loyalty to our little green space. We are devastated to no longer be able to serve you.
“It hurts more than we can say, but we have voluntarily made this decision as we understand our position is unlikely to improve.”
Despite the closure of their business, the two remain positive and call on the local community to support other independent shops who may also be struggling with the rise in costs.
“It’s not just us. Now is the time to show your love and support to your local independents… If you love somewhere, please show them, and go there,” they said.
They concluded by saying: “We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved: Zero was created from our blood, sweat and tears, but mainly our love. We want to end by sending our heartfelt love and thanks to our amazing team.”