The devastated owner of a Harrogate cafe who has been fighting to save her business which was forced to close after last year’s fire at Prezzo has “fallen at the last hurdle”.
Sam Addy shut Crepes and Creams, in Albert Street, three weeks ago as a result of being forced to run the shop from a “building site” following the blaze which ripped through the restaurant last March.
But she was given a glimmer of hope after she wrote to bosses at Prezzo explaining her situation and received a response from the company’s founder and former chief executive Jonathan Kaye.
Mr Kaye, who is now a director after the company was bought out by US firm TPG, said he would do his best to “secure a donation” for Sam.
Three days later she received a second email from Mr Kaye which said that while TPG were entirely agreed with the principle of donating, they would have to check the legal position as they did’t want this to be deemed as an admission of guilt because the fire was not the fault of the Prezzo team or equipment.
Sam’s hopes were raised further when he contacted her a third time saying he hoped to be in touch with good news in the next few days.
However, last Thursday she received the crushing blow that Prezzo’s insurers had refused to make any donation whatsoever.
She said: “It’s not Prezzo’s fault but it’s a fact that if the fire hadn’t started the street wouldn’t have been a building site, my trade wouldn’t have dropped and my shop wouldn’t have closed down. I just thought surely there’s something Prezzo can do as a good will gesture.
“I was so excited when Jonathan got in touch as I felt like he genuinely wanted to help. When he told me the bad news I was devastated as I had got my hopes up. It felt like I had lost my business twice.
“He said he was going to see if there was any other solution he could come up with but I haven’t heard anything.
“I have just got to face facts now and try and clear this mess up. I thought something good could come out of this but I fell at the last hurdle.”
News of the cafe’s closure sparked hundreds of comments on Facebook from the Harrogate community, who felt it was unfair an independent business should suffer.
A campaign is planned to save the cafe
After reading about Sam’s plight in the Harrogate Advertiser, Mike Burke, 23, who used to work at a nearby estate agents, is planning to launch a campaign to save the cafe, which has featured in Trip Advisor’s top five places to eat in Harrogate since 2012.
He said: “I saw first hand they weren’t getting as much business as they were since the fire. “When I read in the Advertiser that it had closed, it annoyed me. I thought it just wasn’t fair. So I am planning a campaign to keep it open.
“The scaffolding has gone now and it was a success when it wasn’t there and it will be a success if we can get it back up and running.”