Jobs are lost as cafe closes

Cafe Rhema.
Cafe Rhema.
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Another well-known town centre business closed at the weekend with the loss of 11 full-time and part-time jobs – Café Rhema at Market Street, formerly Aunt Flossie’s.

The café closed its doors on Friday evening, and when regular customers turned up on Saturday morning, the shutters were down.

The volume of business, the Portadown Times understands, had fallen of late, with footfall in the town diminishing, allied to the crippling rates, rent and other overheads. And there is growing competition in the café trade in the town.

The latest owners of the business were the Wilson family, with daughter Gail Owen in charge. Despite a major makeover four years ago, with a new livery and the name change, the tide of decreased returns could not be reversed.

The business was originally owned by Isadore Campbell, and later was run by the Neville Woods organisation. But it hit the slump that has bedevilled Portadown of late and there was no option but to lock up.

There are, though, signs of improvements in the town, with hopes of an increase in footfall.

Work has started further up Market Street on the renovations to the shop which will accommodate the progressive jewellers Argento who plan to move in at the end of the month.

And across Market Street, the former Poundstretcher shop has been sold, reportedly to SD Kells, the Fermanagh-based departmental store people, although they refuse to confirm the move.

The Portadown Times understands that the Peacock chain store is returning to Portadown – to the former Woolworth’s complex in High Street Mall.

See your comments on the closure of Cafe Rhema and the other latest talking point in the town on page 16.