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Sadness as village shop closes doors
ILMINGTON’S village shop is closing its doors for the last time despite the best efforts of its owners to keep it open.
Vincent and Juila Gajny, who have run the shop for 14 years, have made the painful decision to close on Sunday after a crippling rise in utility bills and a cut to their business tax concession.
The couple, who are in the their mid-50s and have lived in the village for more than 30 years, have struggled to break even for the past six months despite having up to 300 customers a day.
Mr Gajny said they had been fighting a losing battle with competition from larger stores in the area.
“We thought Ilmington was recession-proof,” he said. “It’s quite a wealthy village. Since New Year it just hit us. People just stopped spending.
“We’ve done everything we can. The last six or seven months have been tough. We started to put our own money in. We can’t prop up the shop anymore. It’s very sad for Ilmington.”
Their three members of staff – one full-time and two-part time – will also be leaving this week.
Earlier this month, concerned residents called a meeting in the village hall to discuss ways to keep the shop open.
Chris Grimes, manager of the Blockley community shop, spoke at the meeting about how they came up with a solution after their own village store closed.
Parish councillor Martin Taylor, who chaired the meeting, said that about 120 people turned out.
“I think everyone is extremely sad it’s closing,”
he said. “It’s a wonderful community hub.
The people in the shop are deeply loved. It’s the times we live in.”
A questionnaire has been sent to all residents to get their views and if enough people want to help, a committee will be formed.