Imported confectionery retailer Candy Avenue and milkshake shop Stars & Shakes abruptly closed their doors to customers after less than a year of trading this autumn, leaving seven people jobless and two city centre retail premises unoccupied.
The former manager of both businesses has revealed that the handling of the situation by the owners of the two stores, C&S Distribution Ltd, leaves much to be desired.
Steve Shooter managed both Stars & Shakes on Church Street and Candy Avenue on Parliament Street. On Tuesday, November 19, as he enjoyed a day off work, the bailiffs arrived at Candy Avenue.
Steve tells us, “A lady and a very sturdy looking man turned up, claiming the owners hadn’t paid the council’s rates, meaning they owed £30,000 since June.
“On the day, the owners talked the bailiffs out of it. My staff and I tried to get in touch with the owners afterwards but got no answer.
“I turned up at the shop the next day to find it empty, with a note on the door stating the parent company had ‘gone into administration’. The shop had been demolished overnight.
“They’d taken random things but left certain things like a fridge full of pop. They took the till, they took the safe. We didn’t hear from them for nearly ten days. We rang them, emailed them, texted them, but got no response.”
The manner in which Shooter and his staff discovered they had lost their jobs was far from ideal, but there was perhaps an even crueller sting in the tail to come for the York workers.
“We were due to be paid Friday, November 29, and that didn’t happen. Myself and my assistant got a text on the Friday saying “As you know we’re having financial difficulties, we’ll see what we can do.”
They owe me over £2,000 and they owe the rest of my staff probably about the same again between them.”
The owners of Candy Avenue, Michael Brodie and Matthew Mitchell have been touted as notably bright young business talents, just 20 years of age and with several business ventures already to their name.
Listed as the directors of numerous companies, Brodie and Mitchell allegedly paid Shooter through four different companies during his nine months of employment. Steve tells us that the pair continue to ignore his attempts to communicate with them.
“They’ve had letters from me personally, giving them a week to respond, before we take legal action. At the moment, all I want is our money.”
Steve is now taking the company to an industrial tribunal to try to recover the money owed. He and his staff have yet to secure new jobs.