PLUMMETING profits have forced the owner of a popular independent tea merchant to finally call time on his business after 12 years in the trade.
Andrew Gadsden, owner of Gadsden Tea in Hilsea, is wrapping up his business after a ‘marked’ decline in profits.
The news comes after the tea merchants left its former All About Tea base, in Middle Street, Portsmouth, in February.
At the time, Mr Gadsden said the closure of his public-facing outlet was an ‘exciting’ new step, bringing the business ‘back to its roots’, of import, blend and pack products – including its popular Portsmouth Tea.
However, in an email to his loyal customers last night, Mr Gadsden said: ‘I am very sorry to tell you that Gadsden Tea has closed down.
‘Our profits have declined markedly in the last year and it is no longer sustainable.
‘Even sadder, we are the fourth independent tea blender/packer to cease trading this year.
‘I am so sorry that we will not be able to continue supplying you with delicious tea.’
Speaking on the company’s Facebook profile, Mr Gadsden told customers he was sorry to close but thanked them for their support.
He added as profits fell, he was unable to pay the bills, which eventually prompted his decision to wind the firm up.
The news of the closure has left customers shocked and saddened.
Reacting on Gadsden Tea’s Facebook post, Sharon Rose Dady wrote: ‘This is such sad news. We thoroughly enjoyed every visit to the cafe and especially the Portsmouth Tea. You and all your staff were truest wonderful and you will be missed. It really is a shame something so unique and wonderful has gone.’
Peter Lee also sent his condolences and said: ‘This is a real shame, so sorry to hear that you couldn’t make it work. First the lovely cafe, and now the teabags. Good luck for whatever the future holds.’
While Simon Frost said: ‘I am very sad to hear. Your tea is excellent. I remember taking a group of colleagues from Caen, Normandy to visit your old premises and they were very impressed.’
As previously reported, Gadsden Tea’s former site in Middle Street was forced to close amid speculation landlords were eyeing it up to convert it into student accommodation.
The site had been earmarked for residential development in freeholder Portsmouth City Council’s 2012 Somers Town and North Southsea Area Action Plan.
However, a planning application given conditional permission in 2013 – submitted by a private developer separate to Portsmouth City Council – proposed the construction of a four-storey, 66-flat student block and three commercial units in its place.
As yet, no new student flats have been built on the former tea merchants.
Mr Gadsden has arranged for some of his blends, including Portsmouth Tea, to be passed on to Kent & Sussex Tea & Coffee Co.