A HENLEY jewellers will close next month after 10 years.
Tom Bulgarelli, the owner of Precious Love in Duke Street, claims the town is being “marginalised” as a shopping destination.
Mr Bulgarelli, who has owned the store since autumn 2011, will close the business on April 11 when the shop’s lease comes to an end.
Two members of staff, manager Clare Jones and part-time sales assistant Mitra Ellis, will lose their jobs.
Precious Love is the latest independent business to close this year following St Audrey’s gift shop, which was also in Duke Street, and florists Stemtation in Market Place Mews.
Mr Bulgarelli said: “I don’t think Henley is the retail destination it once was. We have noticed a significant decline in footfall.
“Henley, I think, is becoming marginalised in terms of a shopping experience and I think we have suffered as result.
“If you’re a chain you can make it work as you have economies of scale and you can buy much cheaper but for independents it’s tough.
“We’re really disappointed – we have got really loyal customers and we have built up good relationships with other businesses in Henley.”
The shop will run large closing down sale, allowing customers to complete their collections, and will then continue to trade online.
Mr Bulgarelli said: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve got to know quite a few of the customers and we have run some hilarious and great events.”
The business won the town’s Christmas window display competition in 2010 and in 2012 won the prize for the best Henley Royal Regatta window display.
In 2011 it launched a competition to find Henley’s most romantic person by displaying messages of love in its window on Valentine’s Day.
The business was relaunched in October 2011 and the event was attended by Angie Best, mother of model and TV personality Calum Best, who recently opened a gym off Marlow Road.