Farewell to Gloucester cafe - but what will replace it?
FLAVOURS of North Africa are a distant memory this week after a Gloucester cafe shut up shop.
Lizzie Abderrahim closed the doors to her business Cafe El Bahdja, in Westgate Street, for the last time on Saturday.
She said there were 'multiple reasons' why her cafe was closing – but would not divulge further.
She said: "We have been planning to leave here for a while and are in the process of selling the business. We need to move our lives in a different direction and we got a buyer so now is the time for us to go. We have had some very loyal customers and we have enjoyed their company."
The premises will remain shut for several weeks but Mrs Abderrahim confirmed that the new owners wanted to open a cafe. She would not say what type of cafe it would be. "There will be a notice in the shop window when the buyer is ready," she added.
Her business courted controversy in 2012 when it became the only cafe in the county to be licensed to sell shisha, where smokers inhale flavoured tobacco through exotic waterpipes.
The business opened in 2010 and was put on the market in March this year. Back then she said fewer people working from Shire Hall and the closure of HMP Gloucester had contributed to a decline in customers.
Ivan Taylor, from the Westgate Quarter Traders' Association, said: "It is a shame to see so many seasoned business holders going because they are good at what they do."
Nearby traders said they would welcome a new business to the area. Neil Wildin, owner of StanMan's Kitchen, said: "As a cafe we are very busy during the summer but when it comes to autumn the footfall goes down. There are only so many customers to fill the cafes. Instead it would be good to see a unique clothing shop."
Cheryl Oakley, of Blushes Hair Salon, said: "We could do with a restaurant instead of a cafe."
Gloucester City Council leader Paul James said: "I am sorry to see Lizzie going because she had put in a great deal of effort."