Popular South Shields cake shop to close after covid hits trade - but owners vow to continue business from home

A family cake business has vowed to continue after announcing it is closing its shop following a downturn in trade since the pandemic.

The Cake Place, in Sunderland Road, South Shields, which specialises in making bespoke cakes for weddings and other celebrations, has seen takings fall by 75% as customers re-arrange or even cancel orders amid ongoing restrictions on social gatherings.

Mother and daughter team Moira Robertson, 56, and Jo Johnston, 35, who both live in the town, now plan to continue trading from a shed or unit in one of their gardens after the shop shuts on November 27.

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The Cake Place opened in 2015 and has attracted orders from as far away as Northumberland and the Lake District.

People living abroad would also contact the shop online so it could deliver surprises to friends and relatives locally.

Mrs Johnston said: “Before covid, things were ticking along quite happily.

"But afterwards people understandably started to postpone weddings or cancel parties and now they are starting to put things back from 2021 to 2022.”

Aside from making wedding and speciality cakes, The Cake Place sells baking equipment and held cake-making classes before the pandemic.

Moira Robertson, left, and daughter Jo Johnston, have vowed to continue trading as The Cake Place after they shut their South Shields shop in November following a downturn in takings since the pandemic.

Mrs Johnston said: “We have had people crying because we are leaving. People come in and you make friends.

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"It has been a difficult decision to make but you are now looking at a situation where we might have one year’s worth of work covering us for three years.

"Some people got into the habit of buying online during lockdown and we don’t just get as many people in as before. Yet you still have bills to pay and this is not going to end any time soon.”

The shop closure has been lamented by South Shields Labour MP Emma Lewell-Buck, who wrote on Twitter: “Another valued independent business lost due to the Government’s lack of support where it is needed most."

While not wanting to get too political, Mrs Johnston said: “There has been too much haphazard advice. How is it okay for 100 strangers to mix at distance in a pub but it is not okay for 100 friends and family to do the same at a wedding?”

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The Cake Place has vowed to honour existing orders and can be contacted via 07486 390196 or through its Facebook page.

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