A COMMUNITY is rallying together to prevent a specialist shop disappearing from its high street.
Wine Rack, part of First Quench Retailers, which has gone into liquidation, currently has a shop in Pitshanger Lane which is due to close next month as a suitable buyer has not been found.
A petition is gathering momentum as the Pitshanger community sets out to hang on to the wine shop, hoping a buyer will be found to run the store as an independent off-licence.
Mike Matthews, who has been branch manager since August last year and with the company for 20 years, said: "The reason we will be closing next month is that no interest has been generated in taking on my branch to allow it to continue trading, which is a real shame.
"The store is widely regarded in the area and customers claim there has been a wine shop on the current site since the 1930s, maybe longer. My customers say it's unforgivable that there will not be a specialist wine store in Pitshanger Lane and say they won't be using the two Co-ops.
"I've run a few branches but this one is different. There's a real village atmosphere and people want a specialist wine shop on the Lane. My branch does actually turn a profit, another reason why I find it hard to believe that no one wants to invest, and I hope someone out there wants to take on this shop as an independent."
Beth Gregory, of Pitshanger Community Association (PCA), said: "The PCA has always supported the Wine Rack by using it as a supplier for its events and is saddened by the forthcoming closure.
"With no other dedicated off-licence, it will be a real loss to the Lane. The PCA has been actively trying to support all the shops in the Lane over the past year with reminders to our 3,000 members that it is vital to shop locally to keep them in the heart of our community.
"In a bid to try and halt the closure of more shops in the Lane, the PCA has begun a free marketing initiative for all traders in which they can benefit from market research and the opportunity to directly target our members with offers."
* For more information about the PCA campaign, visit www.pitshanger.org.uk . Pitshanger Wine Rack is on 020 8997 4666.