Twenty-seven people lost their jobs following the sudden closure of a restaurant and a shop in the city center.
Macknade bosses at Elwick Place in Ashford said Covid, coupled with the rising cost of living, was one “crisis too many”, leaving the fledgling business with little choice but to scale back operations.
All 27 people employed at the cafe and store lost their jobs in what company chief executive Stefano Cuomo said was a “heartbreaking” decision.
He said: “Macknade Ashford has always been about creating place and building community, so we opened with great confidence in February 2020, only to close six weeks later due to Covid.”
“While we have lost several years of building traffic, we felt we had done enough to complete and capitalize on a return to normality as Covid pressures eased in early 2022.
“Unfortunately, the cost of living crisis and its impact on customer footfall and spending has been one crisis too many for our fledgling business.
“As we pushed through 2022 as far as we could, it became clear that we did not have the footfall and expense required for the site, and would not be able to provide the viable business. that we had planned for so long.
“It’s devastating to have fought so hard for the past three years, only now to have to close, and worst of all, it’s heartbreaking to lose our team who have poured their hearts and souls into the business.
“Serviced Retail Ltd, Macknade Ashford’s trading company, employed 27 people, in retail and hospitality roles, and they are not only part of the Macknade family, but an integral part of the community of ‘Ashford.
“Thank you to everyone who supported us at Ashford.
“We hope we have had an impact on the city during our time here.
“Macknade Faversham continues to trade as normal, and we hope to see as many of you there as possible.”
The business opened in the £75million leisure complex shortly before lockdown in 2020, taking over the unit previously used by the Ashford International Model Railway Education Centre.
The closure, which was announced by signs on the doors, comes after the city center site drastically reduced in size last month when bosses closed the boutique aspect of the business to focus on running of the restaurant.
In June Macknade announced plans to open a new 120-seat restaurant and food store in Folkestone‘s Harbor Arm, but plans were later put on hold.
The Faversham branch will remain open as usual.