Ottery’s baker blames Sainsbury’s for closing down

The owner of one of Ottery’s landmark businesses has blamed the impact of Sainsbury’s on the decision to close its doors for good on Christmas Eve.

Kevin Wood, 42, has run Millstone Bakery, in Mill Street, with his brother-in-law for 13 years, but said since the arrival of a supermarket in the town independent shops have suffered.

He said there ‘is no longer enough business’ for shops such as his, and is closing down on December 24.

“It’s up to the people of Ottery to decide how they want to shop, unfortunately they have chosen the supermarket way.”

There has been a bakery in Mill Street for generations, and Mr Wood said it is Ottery’s oldest business to be in the same premises.

But he said: “Since the supermarket opened, we have seen business decline, I understand; people come in their cars, they do all their shopping at Sainsbury’s, and drive home again.”

Mr Wood, a trained chef, took over Millstone with brother-in-law Keith Upham, 44, as they wanted to run a bakery which still made everything on site.

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He said he doesn’t know what he will do once it closes at Christmas, and fears the shop will remain empty for ‘a long time’.

They have made 14 people redundant in the past year to try and cut costs, but now several more local people will be put out of work.

Since Sainsbury’s opened, Mr Wood said there has been less footfall in the town, which has hampered his business as they need lots of people coming through their doors.

“We start work at 3am and are open until 6pm, and it has got to the point where it’s just not worth it.”

But he said it has not been an easy decision, and he has been saddened by having to say goodbye to loyal customers who have been coming to the bakery for many years.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said, since the store opened a year ago, it has played an active part in the Chamber of Commerce to help make Ottery ‘a shopping destination’.

The company also pointed to its two-hour free car parking in Hind Street and contributing to the cost of an improved bus service.

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