The independent London newspaper

Fears for Phoenicia as bailiffs pull shutters down

Residents shocked after finding 'extremely well used' Kentish Town shop shut

11 January, 2019 — By Dan Carrier

Phoenicia proprietor Ghassan Eid is ‘dealing with the matter’

ONE of Kentish Town’s most popular shops suddenly closed its doors today (Friday) – as the property’s landlords repossessed the space.

Regular customers called the New Journal and flooded social media to express their shock after seeing the stalwart in Kentish Town Road shuttered.

But the closure may just be temporary.

Phoenicia proprietor Ghassan Eid told the New Journal: “I’m afraid what is happening is true. But I’m dealing with the matter and do my very best to reopen the shop as soon as possible.”

A sign on the doors of the shop, once home to Blockbusters Video store and now spread across three units knocked together, has been repossessed by bailiffs and says any queries should be directed to a management firm called Larrg Properties.

The company said the closure had come because of issues over rent, adding: “It is because of a default on a payment – but it is being resolved now. I am about 95 per cent sure it will reopen.”

Phoenicia Food Hall – a successful family business that specialises in Middle Eastern food – included a bakery, butcher, and cafe as well as serving groceries. Celebrity chef Yotam Ottolenghi has often said it is favourite store in the borough and is a regular customer.

Kentish Town Road Action group chairwoman Caroline Hill said: “We had all been a bit concerned in the last few days and been asking the staff what is going on because the shelves were getting emptier and emptier. They said it was due to a new year stock take.

“With Phoenicia, it isn’t a case of saying we should have used it more – it was extremely well used, greatly admired, and is a vital part of our high street. It would be an absolute tragedy if it did not reopen.”

The New Journal has learned that in the run up to Christmas, the shop suffered computer glitch that affected tills and stock control. It is not known whether this has any part in its closure.

The building is owned by a firm called Deeside Investments Limited, based in Kenton, Brent.

Kentish Town Road has suffered in recent years with numerous long standing businesses closing.

Empty properties include the former Post Office, Italian restaurant Tolli, the pub Auntie Annie’s, a large home furnishing store, two former banks, a hairdressers, convenience store among others.

It is also blighted by the on-going delay in redeveloping the former North London Polytechnic on the corner of Prince of Wales Road.

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