One of The Lanes’ most famous shops has shut its doors for the last time.
Choccywoccydoodah in Meeting House Lane was still attracting huge crowds drawn by its elaborate window displays right up to its last day of trading this week.
But to the shock of fellow traders and shoppers, a sign appeared in the window yesterday announcing it was closing down, and admistrators have now been appointed.
The high-end chocolatier’s website today simply reads: “Choccywoccydoodah is now permanently closed. Please direct all enquiries to Quantuma LLP.
David Hawkins from The Lanes Armoury opposite Choccywoccydoodah said Lanes traders and even the postman was shocked when he saw the sign.
He said: “It’s a shock to everyone, even the postman was surprised.
“They hadn’t opened when I was here yesterday morning, which was unusual. Later I saw the lady who owns it going in and it opened, but the next thing it was closed again and then when I walked past there was a sign saying it had closed today.
“It’s a shock because it was so busy all the time. There were people queuing outside and taking photos every day.
“But with any tourist thing, the challenge is turning that into cash. You might get thousands of people looking but not necessarily wanting to buy a premium bar of chocolate or a cake for hundreds of pounds.
“The rents here are very high. I’ve been told they’re near enough the highest outside London in The Lanes proper and they have only been going up.
“But we get lots of students, who aren’t going to go into restaurants and spend a lot. The town seems to be getting more of that and less of the people who will spend more money.
“There’s nothing wrong with coach trips of students and they’re the lifeblood of the seafront, but you have got to have a mix and we’re not getting that with all the anti-car parking restrictions.”
Choccywoccydoodah, which was founded in 1994 by Christine Taylor and Christine Garratt and previously had a shop in Duke Street before moving to Meeting House Lane, had become famous internationally after being featured in an eponymous reality TV show on the Really channel from 2011 to 2014.
It showed the shop’s chocolatiers devising intricate showstopping cakes for a string of celebrity clients, including Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Branson, Alice Cooper, Boy George and Game of Thrones.
In 2012, it opened a store in London’s Carnaby Street, moving last year to a three-storey store in Covent Garden, but this closed down last week. At first, customers were reassured the Brighton store would continue to trade, but this has now closed too.
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