Two brothers have been forced to sell the convenience store they have poured their “hearts and souls” into for more than three decades after a new supermarket opened next door.
Londis, in Glengall Road, Edgware, has reported a 25 per cent drop in takings since Tesco opened next door just five weeks ago, and its owners fear the decline will only get worse.
The devastated owners, brothers Dhiro and Nitin Shah, are now preparing to hang up the ‘closing down’ sign – 34 years after they welcomed their first customer on April 14, 1980.
Dhiro Shah, 60, said: “When we first opened, business was superb. We have had some good years and many, many memories here.
“We have been here to serve the community, but this now feels like a dagger in our backs. We feel cheated. Everything we worked so hard for has just gone down the drain.
“For so long, we poured our hearts and soul into our work and now that’s been for nothing. We’ve had to let go of staff because we can’t afford to keep them now.”
The brothers also claim Kosher Kingdom, which opened next door one year ago, caused their trade to fall by a further 50 per cent.
Although the brothers have been considering closing for some time, they say Tesco “finished the business off”.
Mr Shah added: “There should be laws against this – once you’ve got a shop of some kind in a street, nobody else should be allowed to move in and sell those products.”
However Sion Cohen, a manger at Kosher Kingdom, said he felt Tesco had helped boost its sales.
He said: “We don’t feel threatened by Tesco at all. In fact, we’ve now got more customers than ever before and trade is great.
“It’s not our fault that Londis is closing because we sell different things. It’s obviously very sad this has happened.”
A statement from Tesco said: "We are proud to be part of the high street in Edgware and we believe we are encouraging more customers to shop locally rather than going further afield, helping other local businesses to grow."