Butlers Wine Cellar in Brighton has reluctantly closed the doors of the shop it has called home since 1979 and retrenched to its smaller Kemp Town branch in the city.
Henry Butler and Cassie Gould believe the landlord of the original premises wants to convert the building to residential use.
Although Gould says they were sad to leave the Queen’s Park Road shop, there are upsides to the move. “It wasn’t our choice,” she says. “But it’s worked out all right.
“We are thinking how we can make the most of the space we have in Kemp Town. It’s a good site for us and we like it here. People know us here.
“The shop is pretty rammed, so we’re looking at possibly changing the layout.”
The duo have been weighing up the possibility of moving Butlers to a bigger site, such as an old pub, where drinking-in could be added to their retail, e-commerce and wholesale revenue streams.
“That would be the dream,” says Gould. “Somewhere that we could offer bigger tastings and more events. Obviously, with the way things have turned out over the last couple of years, it would probably be silly to invest in somewhere that was predominantly events-based.”
No staff have been lost as a result of the downsizing, though Gould admits that not all Butlers’ Queen’s Park Road customers have migrated to Kemp Town for their wine requirements.
“Some have switched to online ordering, but quite a few we have lost. People are creatures of habit. It’s a 15-minute walk between the two shops, really.
“We’re on Deliveroo now, which is new for us and gives us a bit of exposure.”