POTENTIAL buyers expressed an interest in taking over Skipton’s Keelham Farm Shop less than a week after it closed unexpectedly leaving around 100 members of staff without jobs.

Administrators, appointed on Friday last week, say they have been made aware of ‘several parties’ interested in the award winning business - latterly known as Keelham Food Hall - which closed unexpectedly three days after Christmas on December 28.

Jonny Marston, joint administrator with Lyn Vardy of Alvarez and Marsal Europe, which has an office in Leeds, said: “The business has experienced financial difficulty in recent months as a result of cost inflation, which ultimately led to cashflow problems and the business ceasing to trade last week.

“The joint administrators’ priority is to explore options to sell the business as a going concern and have already been made aware of interest from several parties. Interested parties are invited to register their interest directly.”

The administrators said it was difficult to say when the business could be sold, but they were working as quickly as they could to find a solution.

They added by the time they became involved remaining stock in the store was ambient, non-perishable goods, such as tins and jars, and form part of the company’s assets in any sale process.

Staff and shoppers reacted with shock and sadness following the sudden closing of the business on Gargrave Road, close to the A65/A59 roundabout, and almost opposite where plans to build a roadside service station were approved last year following a successful appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

Staff were told of the closure only in the morning and were told they would not be paid unless they completed their full shift.

In a statement, owners of the business said it had been with real regret that they had taken the difficult step to close the business.

They said they had tried over the last 18 months to turn the business around, including rebranding and simplifying its supply chain, but that it had not worked.

“Despite these efforts, a combination of factors including cost of living pressures, food inflation and higher interest rates means we simply have not been able to attract enough regular shoppers to cover the ever-increasing fixed overheads of the store and create a viable business moving forward.”

They went on to thank all their customers, partners, suppliers and staff for their hard work over the years.

North Yorkshire Councillor Simon Myers, who represents the Mid Craven ward which includes the farm shop, said he was very sorry for all the people who had lost their jobs as a result of the closure and hoped to see the business successfully taken over and staff members re-employed.

Planning permission for the farm shop was given by the former Craven District Council in 2013 and was an amended version of a more ambitious eco friendly building, which included a wind turbine, planned by the original joint owners, Victoria and James Robertshaw.

Any interested parties should contact a member of the Joint Administrators’ team on 0113 360 6700 or INS_KEEFSL@alvarezandmarsal.com.