A FAMILY-RUN coffee and dessert parlour has “closed its doors” at Basildon’s Eastgate shopping centre less than a year after it opened. 

Ace Coffee and Creams, on the first floor of the shopping centre, has had its shutters closed since Thursday and residents, who are close with the owners, told the Echo it is “closed and may be sub-let sometime in the future”. 

The business, specialising in hand-made gelato, coffee and sweet and savoury treats, opened in December 2022 and residents have now raised concerns there is “nothing” in the shopping centre anymore. 

Craig Rimmer, Conservative councillor responsible for economic stimulus and tourism, pointed to the success of the new St Hilary’s retail park, in Miles Gray Road - boasting a Lidl, Greggs and soon to open Starbucks - as a reason why Basildon is still thriving. 

Resident Matt Patience said: “It’s definitely sad news because the whole town is losing businesses.

“I’ve grown up in Basildon, and everyone used to come here, meet up and enjoy a lovely day in each other’s company.

“I don’t like it here because there’s nothing here anymore, which breaks my heart.”

Echo: Sad - Jenny and Matt PatienceSad - Jenny and Matt Patience (Image: Newsquest)

One shopper, who did not want to be named, said: “The closure of another business in the town is not good at all, especially when we’ve already lost Wilko two months ago.

“I just hope that more businesses won’t follow suit because we need places to eat or shop at, especially for those who don’t have access or are unable to use the internet.”

When the Echo visited the outlet, the shutters were down. 

One woman, who visited in December 2022, said on Facebook that the “lovely” staff gave her daughter a “free crepe and it just happened to be my daughter’s birthday too”.

Craig Rimmer, Conservative councillor responsible for economic stimulus and tourism, said: “It’s a shame for those who are losing work, and the council is keen to do its utmost best to support people to find new work.

“But businesses are choosing to invest in Basildon, such as the names coming to St Hilary’s retail park, and that gives me confidence that businesses are not disappearing.”

To find out more about Eastgate shopping centre, visit: eastgateshoppingcentre.com.