A popular Market Harborough shop which sells Thorntons chocolates is staying open – despite the top retailer shutting all its 61 stores.
The Cardzone outlet on St Mary’s Place in the town centre is escaping the axe hitting every one of Thorntons shops nationwide because it’s a franchise.
Kerry Farrar, who manages the store, said today: “We are definitely staying open.
“We’d just like to let everyone in Market Harborough and throughout the area know that we are safe.”
She said that they are actually owned by thriving Nottingham-based High Street card and gift giant Cardzone.
“We operate as a franchise, selling Thorntons chocolate to our many customers.
“We exclusively sell their products and we have to set up our displays as they ask us to,” said Kerry, who said they had been there in the heart of Market Harborough for nine years.
“But we are not owned by Thorntons.
“It’s a massive positive for the people of Market Harborough that we are going to be fine.
“We have lost enough good shops in the town over the last two to three years as it is – we don’t want to lose any more.
“There are four of us working here and we are obviously delighted and relieved to be OK.
“But we do feel very sorry for the many staff at risk of losing their jobs at Thorntons stores up and down the country at such a tough time.”
She said they are now hoping to move into the old Post Office, which was based just yards away on St Mary’s Place, in the next few weeks.
“We will be moving into there next month all being well.
“It’s a much bigger building,” said Kerry.
“So that shows just how well we are doing despite the pandemic – and we’d like to thnk all our loyal customers for standing by us.”
Founded in Sheffield in 1911, Thorntons is closing all of its 61 stores - putting 603 jobs at risk nationally – after being hit hard by the Covid-19 lockdowns.
But Adam Goddard, the firm’s retail director, said they will continue to work alongside their flourishing franchise operations – such as Cardzone in Market Harborough.
“We work closely with around 100 franchise stores that sell Thorntons product within a broader retail store environment – such as cards stores, gift stores and post offices.
“We proactively communicated with all our franchise partners to reassure them that we remain committed to supporting them and continuing to supply their business with our Thorntons range,” said Adam.
“Our franchise partners, alongside our grocery partners and e-commerce, remain a key part of our strategy for the future of Thorntons.
“The Thorntons website store locator will continue to reflect the Franchise stores available to customers.”