SKY-HIGH town centre business rates and fierce competition from national chains have forced the impending closure of yet another independent Newbury outlet.
Frecsa, a coffee house in Northbrook Street, has announced it will close on Thursday, December 22, after a hard slog over the last two years to establish the business.
The proprietors of the venture – which dishes up home-made food to rave reviews – are Sarah Elwahsh and her husband Ahmed Elsenusi, who live in Newbury and were “heartbroken”.
“We built everything from scratch,” said Mrs Elwahsh.
“It’s very sad, but there is not enough trade to cover our costs.
“We offered a very different and unique style to Newbury.
“We really tried hard but we couldn’t hold on anymore.”
She said Frecsa was unable to compete with the extensive marketing of national chains, of which there are several branches in Newbury.
Her husband has found employment as a software engineer and it was very unlikely they would re-open, either in Newbury, or elsewhere.
Locals have taken to social media to lament the impending closure, including 35 who have left comments on the Newburytoday Facebook page.
Jane Pestridge said: I, my husband and friends will miss this lovely, quirky independent! “Such a shame. I am truly gutted. It is my go to place for coffee and food.
“We need more places that are like Frecsa not less. What happened to embracing individuality and supporting small independent businesses that people put their heart and sole into?
“Good luck and best wishes sent to the lovely people that owned and ran Frecsa, You and your cafe will be missed!!!”
Ben Richardson said: “A real shame. Great place, great coffee and very nice owners/staff.”
Helen Cook said: “What a shame – this place knocked the spots off the chain coffee shops in town. Great coffee and food. Sad to see you go.”
Alice Fogg said on Twitter: “So sad. Amazing food and fab coffee.
“Thanks for bringing variety to Newbury high street.
“Such a shame that we, once again, have one less independent to choose from. All the best!”
Equally upset was Wendy Hewitt, who also took to Twitter to comment: “Really sad to hear that we will so miss the best coffee in Newbury and feel really sorry that yet another independent vacates the high street.
“Wishing you all the best.”