Former employee of closed supermarket says 'it saddens me that I had no chance to say goodbye to the customers or my colleagues'
PUBLISHED: 12:08 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:08 10 December 2019
A former employee of a mini supermarket in Ely confirmed that all the workers had been made redundant.
Rose Hellawell said that none of the staff knew that their employer, Select Convenience, was about to close.
"Not one of the employees from all 15 Select Convenience stores knew they were going to lose their jobs," she said.
She said the company was "having difficulties" and could not afford the November payroll.
"We were told to explain to customers that there was a supplier issue - the actual issue is that H&M Companies Ltd which runs Select Convenience is having a legal battle with their supplier Bestway," she said.
Ms Hellawell said the contractual dispute meant that shops - like hers in St Mary's Street - could not get much stock from anywhere else.
"So the shops just started decaying if you will," she said.
"It saddens me that I had no chance to say goodbye to the customers or my colleagues.
"I genuinely miss serving everyone and felt bad for the customers who were made to pay gas and electricity with cash only and who trekked every day to the shop just to find no stock to buy."
She added: "I just want customers to know we were just as confused as them."
The once popular mini supermarket has a sign on the door says the owners have no intention of re-opening it.
"Select Convenience Store is now permanently closed," says a sign in the window.
The store, which also specialised in low cost alcohol, had been notably short of stock in recent week with staff blaming 'deliveries' for the shortfalls.
Customers say the decision to close must have been taken quickly as they have spotted fruit and vegetables still on the shelves and milk in the fridges.
Prior to becoming a convenience store it traded under the Nisa band and before that was a car show room.
Residents say they are hoping to persuade the Co-op to take on the store.
No-one was available at the shop when we telephoned. "We will miss working here and serving you," says the sign on the closed shop.
Parent company H & M Ltd was founded in 2015 by Hari Sohal who aimed to takeover select convenience stores within the retail sector.
It had a philanthropic side to the business: each month the company donated food from stores to the food bank - The Trussell Trust.
"This small gesture is one the ways we like to give back and be able to do our bit," it explained.