Hastings butcher shop closes after 21 years in business
Gary Fellows ran Arcade Butchers at Queens Arcade for 21 years, but he said he decided to close after his rent went up. He had to lay off a full-time employee.
Speaking before the shutdown, he said: ‘I have been involved in legal negotiations over rent increases. Unfortunately these negotiations fell through and coupled with the loss of footfall, both in the Arcade and in the city center in general, it is with regret that I move on after 21 years.
His last day of trading at the Arcade was Saturday, January 22. In a flyer distributed to shop customers, he added: “I want to thank you all for your support over the years, in good times and bad. However, this is not a goodbye, I will be working with Sarah at The Old Butcher’s Shop in Pett, allowing me to have a shorter work week, knowing that all your butchering needs are supported.”
Sarah Whiteman, whose farming family started the whole carcass butchery on Pett Road in 1934 and then started operating it again in March 2020, operates a delivery service in Hastings. She said: “Since taking over the business, Gary has been a source of advice and support to me, and it is with sadness that I have watched recent events unfold. We also had the uncertainty of Covid and the realization that as sole traders we can be quite vulnerable at times. It is therefore with great pleasure that we welcome Gary and his customers to our shop. I know Gary has a great relationship with his regular customers and wouldn’t want to disappoint any of them. a value that we share a lot here.
In March last year, Queens Arcade sold at auction for £461,000, after receiving 51 bids. Hastings and Rye MP Sally-Ann Hart had written to the building’s owners, Went Tree Trust, and its trustees, Heringtons Solicitors, asking them to ‘seriously consider removing the property from auction’ .
After the sale, Ms Hart said: ‘Like traders, and I am sure many people in our town, I am disappointed to see the sale of this historic building continue today. There were serious questions for the Went Tree Trust to answer, and the speed of the process caught many traders by surprise, leaving them no time to respond and act. Queens Arcade businesses were only given three weeks’ notice before the auction and said they feared the new landlords would raise rents and drive family businesses out of the Arcade.
Queens Arcade was built in 1882. In 1924 Scottish engineer John Logie Baird made his first public television demonstration at the site. Many of his early experiments were carried out in his workshop above No. 8 of the arcade.