Card shop closes permanently after water leak during lockdown
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant
A popular card shop in Martlesham is closing permanently following damage caused by a water leak during lockdown.
Owner Pamela Gale said she was very sad to close Memories Cards and Gifts in Martlesham Heath, but had received many lovely comments from customers.
She said: "It has been a terrible year for all non-essential businesses. We had seven months of not being able to trade, which was devastating for an independent shop. Then the water leak was the final straw."
Mrs Gale was just starting to think there was "light at the end of the tunnel", after a date for non-essential retail reopening was announced in the roadmap.
But then, in mid-February, she was alerted to the water leak from the office above the store.
"I whizzed round and couldn't believe what I saw - the water was running down inside the window," she said.
The flood had brought the ceiling down, leaving the fittings damaged and carpet water-logged, and Mrs Gale lost everything.
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The shop's contents insurers have now confirmed they will pay for the card stock.
Mrs Gale said: "If I was 10 years younger, I would get it all set up, but I'm 64 and I just can't go through starting it all up again."
In a Facebook post, she said: "And so with a heavy heart I have to announce that Memories has closed its doors for good. It has been the most difficult year for all of us and as a non-essential shop, it has hit us hard.
"The devastating leak which has taken all my stock and ruined all the shop fittings, has been the final straw. I just want to thank all of you who have supported us and all the very kind messages we have received. To set the entire business up again is simply too high a mountain to climb. Thank you everyone."
She is now concentrating on getting the premises ready for someone else to take over, and will then be looking to take early retirement.
Mrs Gale has worked at the shop for 25 years altogether, including 15 years as owner, and said she has had great support from the community.
"Because I have been here such a long time, I have seen many of my customers leave school and get married and they have been bringing their children into the shop," she said.
"There are also warden controlled flats nearby and a lot of residents come in to buy cards for their grandchildren."
However, she added: "It has been increasingly difficult over the years because of sales going on to the internet, and the Card Factory also opened up nearby."
Since announcing the closure on Facebook, Mrs Gale has received more than 300 messages from people saying how much she and the shop will be missed.
One customer commented: "Devastated!! You have been the best ever source for 'proper' cards .. Thank you so much for all your hard work... your shop closing is a great loss to the area."
Another said: "Very sad to hear this. Growing up in Martlesham, it was a treat to go to Memories, and the place dad would often take us to choose mum a gift for her birthday.
"Sad that you’ve had such a tough year and closing under difficult circumstances... thank you for the service, wishing you the very best."