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Cafe closes after more than 100 years

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: August 22, 2012

By Gareth Butterfield

Spencers Cafe

Comments (8)

ONE of the Ashbourne’s most prominent town centre cafes is closing this month after more than 100 years serving the town.

Spencers The Baker, which first opened its doors to serve refreshments in 1908, is handing over the keys of its Market Place shopfront to clothing retailer Fat Face, and will cease trading on Sunday, August 26.

The split-level cafe is part of a business run by the Spencer family which has been trading in Ashbourne since 1826.

Its directors, brothers Simon and James Spencer, have signed a leasing agreement for 35-39 Market Place over to clothing brand Fat Face.

The bakery situated behind the cafe, off Union Street, which supplies shops in and around Ashbourne, will continue to trade as normal and Simon, 51, and James, 50, say they may look for another retail outlet in the future.

Most of the cafe staff have found other jobs and a sister cafe in Wirksworth has been unaffected by the closure.

Simon Spencer, who is also deputy leader of Derbyshire County Council, admitted it was a “difficult decision”. He said: “I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the business and my family to thank all our loyal customers over the years and promise that they still buy our products in other parts of the town.

“I would also like to thank all our loyal and dedicated staff — we’ve had generations working here and they’ve all been loyal and very much valued members of the team who have made it the success that it is.

“The town has changed and people’s interests have changed and I believe that Fat Face will enhance the retail and the vitality in Ashbourne and bring another dimension to the town”.

A spokesman for Fat Face, which has more than 200 stores in the UK and Ireland said: “We are very excited about bringing Fat Face to Ashbourne. It’s a fantastic market town with so much potential, and we’re absolutely honoured to me moving into such an iconic building."

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8 comments

  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  December 04 2012, 7:28PM

    I have never tasted nice buns like Spencers outside of Switzerland! They will be sadly missed.

  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  October 13 2012, 2:28PM

    I think FatFace will do well, Ashbourne is a tourist destination and gets plenty of visitors. It's not stores like FatFace that are killing small towns, it's the barrage of charity shops, hairdressers, estate agents, opticians and the like. Just look at Belper where I live! Shame the cafe's gone, but at least you're getting a good quality, popular retailer and not Poundland.

  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  September 11 2012, 9:20PM

    Stop moaning! I am personally excited to have an awesome brand like fat face arrive in town, it will compliment the local buisnesses, not threaten them, as it is very different to most other shops in ashbourne. Anyway, at least it's not yet another antique shop!

  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  September 09 2012, 12:21PM

    Gutted. My regular Sunday morning stop for doorstep toast and cappucino gone for good. This will kill the market place stone dead. I give Fat Face about 12 months before the place is on the market again. The town is not big enough to sustain a business of this nature and visitors will not be interested. A sad day for Ashbourne which up to now had managed to avoid the worst effects of corporatism and retain some individuality. What is Simon Spencer's next plan - a B&Q superstore in Thorpe village ?

  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  August 28 2012, 11:04AM

    Although sad to see the cafe go, I am really excited to have Fat Face come to town, a great shop well suited to this area... and thank goodness its not another charity shop, hairdresser or antique shop. Time moves on, things change for the better!

  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  August 23 2012, 10:37AM

    Sameonyou is right. How often do we hear Ashbourne shop owners and organisations and polticians warning that multi-national retailers coming to the town will kill off local shops. Has Mr Spencer taken this into consideration before handing over to Fat Face? No, a typical two faced politician.

  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  August 23 2012, 10:02AM

    Very sad news as both myself and partner loved Spencers food and excellent service.

  • Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  August 23 2012, 12:01AM

    So, a local councillor hands over his Ashbourne shop to an out-of-town chain. Is it any wonder that we see less uniqueness in our town when local councillors are happy to welcome chain stores in this way. Another sad day for the town with a 100-year-old business shutting up shop (following hot on the heels of H Smith).

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