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Cost of Living Crisis Brings Another Arbroath Business Down

Financial insecurity, rising costs and fewer customers are among the reasons an Arbroath café will close this weekend.

After five years in the Angus town, Bearpig will cease trading on Sunday, 17 July.

Owner Oleg Ermurati said trade has been decreasing every month since March as the cost of living crisis impacts people’s ability to spend.

Meanwhile core costs such as coffee are continuing to increase.

He said: “The price of coffee has been rising every two months which is very challenging to us as a small business.

“Combined with the rising costs, we are seeing a downfall in people’s ability to spend.

“I would even say we’ve had a better than expected winter and I was really hopeful that going into the warmer season things would only improve.

“But from mid-March, the moment we saw petrol rises, every month has been worse and worse.

“Even with the start of the tourism season we feel it didn’t have that much of the impact.”

Oleg previously worked in London in a role providing corporate management systems for railways.  But he always dreamed of opening a hospitality business.

Personal circumstances saw him move to Arbroath in 2015 and he opened the Guthrie Port establishment in 2017.

The café is known for the colourful artwork on the walls, some of which has been donated by customers.

Oleg added: “Somebody described it best in the first week of being open – it’s like an extension of our living room.

“What we serve here is what I’d make at home for a quick lunch.  We’ve met a lot of interesting people, some of whom have given us gifts of art.”

Oleg said he never considered selling the café as a going concern.  “It’s too personal,” he said.

“We’ve not had any staff other than me, my partner and nephew and it would be difficult to replace that.

“I’m proud to say I know the name of most people who come through the doors.”

During the pandemic, Oleg gained a professional cooking qualification at D&A College and a desire to work in a professional kitchen was also among the reasons to close.  He starts a job in the kitchen at Piperdam on Monday.

He said: “I’d like to thank all our customers – I’m grateful for having this opportunity.

“It’s not impossible that I’ll open a food place in Arbroath or Angus in the future.  I think Arbroath is going through a tough time at the moment but I’m convinced the town will flourish again.

“It’s sad to say goodbye.”

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