French-themed bakery Pâtisserie Chanel facing chopping block calls for Burnley Market revival
The duo behind Pâtisserie Chanel in the market plan to close their stall in April due to a lack of customers.
Owners Jonathan Ferguson and Maryse Dubois say the market mainly attracts students during the week who come for fast food takeaways and don't tend to spend in any of the other stalls.
Jonathan is now urging Burnley Borough Council to try new ways to bring in additional traders who offer fresh ideas and differing products in order to attract a variety of customers. He suggests the council could work with colleges and universities to offer a support package to students aspiring to start “low-risk” businesses that benefit from lower rent and tax exemptions, as a way to inject new life into the building.
The pastry chef said: “We'll be shutting down in in April because we just can't afford to carry on. It's just not viable. I’ll sell all the equipment, find a job and put all this behind me.”
Jonathan and Maryse brought Pâtisserie Chanel to Burnley from Rossendale last May.
The market initially “seemed like a thriving place, but over the months there have been more and more businesses just closing down, disappearing and not really being replaced. There's been one or two people who have opened up [shop] but generally the trend is to leave rather than come in so the market is getting much quieter.”
After an initial opening rush, the pâtisserie has been “struggling along ever since”, enjoying a peak at Christmas before “falling flat on its face again”.
Jonathan believes most people are spending less due to worries about the cost of living. But he also feels many shoppers forget about the market due to its first-floor location.
Bosses at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) said they are helping students and graduates bring new businesses to the town centre by offering a free networking group with mentorship and courses.
A UCLan spokesperson said: “We understand that these are tough times for businesses, and it’s why we go continue to go above and beyond to support them. Our Centre for SME and Enterprise Development provides a free membership where businesses can connect and learn together with over 1,700 other SME members. Members have access to a wide range of expertise, knowledge and facilities; can attend masterclasses and networking events; and develop their workforce through the range of courses we offer.
“We also run the Propeller Student Enterprise Service, open to all current students, staff and alumni of UCLan, to develop transferable skills and start their own businesses. We provide a work space hub on our Preston campus that allows SMEs to work alongside student start-ups, supported by one-to-one mentoring. In 2022, UCLan supported 149 students (an increase of 23% on the previous year), and we’re ranked top in the north of England for producing start-up businesses.
“We’re continuing to invest in our Burnley campus, responding to local employers’ skills needs and supporting the regeneration of Burnley Town Centre and the wider region it serves.”
A Burnley Council spokesperson added: "Burnley Market Hall continues to offer incentive levels of rent for traders with new products to the market to encourage business growth and entrepreneurship. It also continually promotes businesses through its social media and website pages."