A MUCH-loved pottery painting business closed its doors for the last time at the weekend.
Leap Frog Ceramics, which was based at Thatcham’s Wyevale Garden Centre and had been running for the past 12 years, has been put into voluntary liquidation and ceased trading on Saturday.
Mike Rowson, whose family owned the business, said the “very tough decision” had been taken because they had struggled to staff the studio since the death of his father, Pete Rowson, last year.
“My dad was there every hour God sent,” he said. “Unfortunately we just haven’t been able to staff it since he died.
“We have been overwhelmed that so many people supported the business and we are so sad to see it go after 12 years.”
Mr Rowson died peacefully on October 22, 2017 and hosts of grateful customers added their handprint to a tile to make up a mural in his honour at the Thatcham studio.
Hundreds of people have now taken to social media to express their sadness at this latest news and to share their memories of Pete and Leap Frog.
Regular customer Helena Herd said she has a “houseful of creations” produced over the past 10 years.
She added: “I was so sorry to hear this.
“We have been coming since my daughter was little and have seen her improvement over the years.
“We came in on Thursday and I’m so glad we did now, but it didn’t feel the same without Pete and the dogs.
“We will always remember Pete and all the lovely staff every time we look at our Leap Frog creations.”
The company’s statement added: “Pete loved his job and the team he worked with and everyone can be proud of their efforts and dedication to the business over the last 12 years at Wyevale.
“We’d like to thank the staff for their positive attitude and dedication and the many customers who blessed us over the years with their custom.”
The studio will be open from 10am until noon every day until next Wednesday for people to collect any pottery they have recently created.
Leap Frog Ceramics, which offered more than 270 different items to paint, was popular among children and adults alike and hosted birthday parties, ladies pottery painting events and toddler Read and Paint sessions.
The family also run a Leap Frog Ceramics studio in Arborfield and this remains open for business as usual.