Clevedon shop to close for good after opening a year ago as energy crisis bites

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A small independent business in Clevedon is having to close its doors only a year after opening because of energy prices.

Clevedon has always been filled with independent businesses but shop owners say they're feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis leaving many struggling for survival.

Loraine Rogerson, owner of Brambles Country Store, is shutting for good at the end of the month.

Despite having a regular stream of customers, the costs of running the shop have made things unfeasible.

The farm shop owner said: "Things have got really bad, not with the customer footfall because we're really well supported and the community love my little shop but it's the electricity prices.

Brambles in Clevedon Credit: ITV News

"When I first opened it was £300 a month for my bill and it's now gone to £1,200 a month and that's with a government subsidy. But once that goes it'll go up to £1,700 a month and that's just unsustainable.

"Unfortunately I've had to make the heartbreaking decision to close my business because I can't make ends meet and it's really sad."

Health food store Sow and Arrow is closing for an extra day to save money. But even so, owner Pauline Cox says balancing the books in this economic climate is a constant battle.

"It's been creeping up consistently but now our energy costs are now three times the cost of our rent so it's incredibly challenging to try and have more coming in than is going out," she said.

"We're trying to do what we can. We're changing the machinery we're using, we've turned off a lot of our fridges and freezers, our coffee machine now gets turned off at 1.30pm rather than 5pm. Anything we can do to bring the energy costs down we're doing.

Sow and Arrow is turning off some of its fridges and freezers Credit: ITV News

"We don't have time to be angry now we're too focused on how will we survive, how will we get through the next 12 months and still be on the high street."

But a few doors away, refill shop A Better Weigh says this seaside town is still a place where independent  businesses can shine. The owners have just expanded and opened a deli over the road.

Martin Webster, owner of A Better Weigh, said: "I think you have to find innovative ways to keep your customer loyal, adapting but I appreciate it is tough and there is businesses that have closed but there's also new businesses opening in the high street and I think that's how business goes."

A spokeperson for The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: "The Energy Bill Relief Scheme means that businesses will pay less than half the predicted wholesale cost of energy this winter."We have backed businesses over the past few years with a package of support including recent fuel duty and VAT cuts and government backed loans worth around 400 billion pounds."