A Preston-based coffee shop and arts venue has officially gone into liquidation.Advertisement
Launched in 2015 the Lancaster Road based Ham and Jam built a cult following.
Begbies Traynor in Preston were formally appointed to liquidate the company on Friday (20 July).
Director Ian McCulloch said: “This was a business popular with the local community as well as people from outside of Preston looking for good coffee in pleasant and unique surroundings.
“After enjoying nearly three years of successful trading and building a popular brand, the owners say they were unfortunately affected by a dramatic decline in footfall and revenue due to roadworks and regeneration works in the city centre.
“Despite best efforts to keep the business trading as a going concern the business had to be closed down and we are now looking to get the best outcome as swiftly as possible for creditors affected.”
Owner Richard Lowthian blamed roadworks in Lancaster Road for a decline in customers – something Lancashire County Council refuted.
The coffee shop has been closed since Saturday 30 June.
Read more: South American themed coffee shop launches in Preston city centre
A collective of arts groups in the city had released a statement saying they were looking at taking on the venue or seeking a way to keep it open.
Garry Cook, who put on many poetry and spoken word nights, in the venue, said: “Personally, Ham & Jam has introduced me to dozens of creatives who I would never had have met otherwise, photographers, writers, performers, painters, poets and print makers.
“We’re all gutted about the closure and what it means for creative people in Preston. Ham & Jam was not just a unique base for creativity in Preston, it was a high-street advert for arts in Preston and represented the city’s ambition for arts and culture.
“As artists we’ve discussed the possibility of taking over the venue as a Community Interest Company or a cooperative but ultimately it’s down the Preston City Council as to how the building is used in the future. I’d love for it to have a future as an arts venue.
“The building has had such a lot of money spent on it by Richard Lowthian, it would be a travesty if it was left empty. I dread the day I walk past and see that it’s become a betting shop.
“Richard put in a tremendous amount of hard work over the past three years. Aside from running a beautiful coffee shop, what he has done for the artists and the arts in Preston can’t be underestimated.”
When Ham and Jam initially announced its closure the leader of the city council councillor Matthew Brown told Blog Preston: “It is disappointing to learn of Ham and Jam’s closure. The council has supported the café since it’s opening, working with Richard on a variety of levels – including many staff and councillors personally having become loyal customers.
“Over the past few years it has been great to see Ham and Jam provide a venue to the local arts community, as we recognise the value of culture to Preston and continue to invest in it. However, despite our confidence that we have gone above and beyond in our support for Ham and Jam, as landlords we are unable to break confidentiality and discuss the specific details.”
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