‘We are sad we couldn’t ride it out’: One-year-old tea room to close due to Covid-19

PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:00 25 August 2020

Devastated co-owner Hayley Claire. Hatters tea room in Chatteris will close its doors for good on August 30 as a result of Covid-19. Picture: Facebook/Hatters

Devastated co-owner Hayley Claire. Hatters tea room in Chatteris will close its doors for good on August 30 as a result of Covid-19. Picture: Facebook/Hatters

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A one-year-old family-run “dream” business will close its doors for good this month due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Hatters owners Debbie Saberton and Hayley Claire. Picture: Facebook/HattersHatters owners Debbie Saberton and Hayley Claire. Picture: Facebook/Hatters

Hatters tea room – themed from Alice in Wonderland – opened in Chatteris last year by mother and daughter duo Debbie Saberton and Hayley Claire.

The devastated owners say they “never really had a chance” after starting their new business just months before a global pandemic forced them shut.

The High Street eatery had been running a home delivery service during lockdown but say they hadn’t received enough custom to pay the bills.

In an emotional video posted to Facebook, Ms Claire tried to hold back the tears while telling her customers they will close for good on August 30.

Devastated co-owner Hayley Claire. Picture: Facebook/HattersDevastated co-owner Hayley Claire. Picture: Facebook/Hatters

She said: “We all know the current situation with the coronavirus and it’s affected lots of people, millions of people in lots of different ways.

“It’s hard to say this without getting really emotional, but unfortunately Hatters is going to have to close at the end of August.

“As you know, we had to be closed for a certain amount of time and since reopening we just haven’t had the footfall or the amount of customers we’ve needed.

“It is unfortunate that we were a new business and we were only open for nine months before the Covid-19 pandemic started.

A previous event - before coronavirus - held at Hatters. Picture: Facebook/HattersA previous event - before coronavirus - held at Hatters. Picture: Facebook/Hatters

“So, we never really had the chance to get lots of things place in place and money behind us to see us through such a time... we’re completely devastated.

“There are really no words, Hatters was the dream of ours and I think we created somewhere that was quite special and we know lots enjoyed coming.”

Customers who have already paid for upcoming events will be able to have their deposits credited and those with vouchers can still spend them in-store.

Ms Claire added: “We want to thank everybody that did come and everybody who has supported us over the last year and especially to people who ordered through us during lockdown.

One Hatters baker holding their cakes. Picture: Facebook/HattersOne Hatters baker holding their cakes. Picture: Facebook/Hatters

“It’s just not something we can sustain any more with the level of sales that we’re having and we’re really sad... we will be closing on Sunday, August 30.

“Hopefully on that day we can have, not a party, but between now and then it would be really lovely for people to visit.

“Just over the next few weeks, come and buy cake from us, come and buy the chocolate fudge brownie because every little bit will help.

“We’re really really sad and I don’t really have any words to put in perspective how we feel... we are sad we couldn’t ride it out.

A full table of afternoon tea made up. Picture: Facebook/HattersA full table of afternoon tea made up. Picture: Facebook/Hatters

“We were just too young a business to be able to withstand the current situation and we understand that people aren’t coming out as much at the moment.

“Who knows, maybe one day in the future Hatters may live on in a different capacity, but for now a massive thank you for everybody.”


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