This year Queen Victoria Arts Club was finalist in no less than 8 awards winning 4 including Leicester Mercury Women in Business Best New Business.
In the 9 years that The Exchange has been the heart of the Cultural Quarter it also has been finalist and won numerous awards including Highly Commended at the Visit England Tourism Awards.
However on the morning of 22nd October 2019 to great surprise both businesses were closed by our landlord and shareholder.
When developing and opening Queen Victoria Arts Club we entered into a business relationship with the landlord of both properties and as 50% shareholder he committed to supporting the business through the first few years of initial growth.
In the past few months however he made it clear that he no longer wished to support and fund the business and so in good faith we started the search for alternative investment.
Though we spoke with a number of individuals and organisations we had a preferred investor who had started serious and viable negotiations with the landlord.
Despite this however, the landlord ceased all negotiations, crowbarred his way into the properties and locked us out taking possession.
We have been speaking with him this morning in order to find a way forward however he has made it clear that he is no longer prepared to negotiate with us or our potential investor and therefore with great sadness and disappointment our businesses have ceased trading.
It is difficult to see the logic behind this decision and we are of the view that both businesses have been taken from us.
Whilst this is a massive blow and will have a huge financial and personal impact on us our thoughts are with our extremely loyal suppliers who, like us, are small local businesses and will be out of pocket and of course our immensely professional and caring staff who not only have been made redundant but will also lose income.
The next few weeks are going to be particularly difficult but we take great pride in everything that we have achieved over the past 10 years in the Cultural Quarter.
We are proud to have supported a huge number of charities and community groups throughout our years at The Exchange and Queen Vic.
Over 9 years at The Exchange we have hosted birthday parties, weddings, christenings, retirements and wakes. We have been the space for baby groups, knitting groups, support groups, book groups, poetry groups, theatre groups & choirs. We have hosted open mic nights, local bands, comedy nights and epic parties. But above all we have taken great pleasure in providing a focal meeting point for people to come together, relax and build relationships. We have taken great pride in our role in Leicester, championing the city and winning national awards as a venue.
Queen Victoria Arts Club was developed as a venue entirely on that basis, a venue that the city could be proud of, high quality but accessible. A place to come and feel special even if it was just for a coffee. In just one year we have supported directly a great number of charities and other local businesses and we are immensely proud of the position we have held, if only for a brief time.
Alongside the loss of both businesses we will be disappointed to no longer be part of the Cultural Quarter community it has been a privilege to be able to support the other businesses in the area and to have been part of the growth of the area and the community. It has been a great joy to have been able to take such an active and often leadership role in so much of the Cultural Quarter activity including the vast number of festivals and events that have taken place, plus of course, ‘Bring the Paint’ which it was a pleasure to have been a member of the initial team developing the concept and delivering the first project.
We would like to thank all our wonderful and eclectic customers who have made our working day so enjoyable over the years. Our suppliers who have supported us and without exception our amazingly professional and talented team of staff who we hope, despite the inevitable shock and anxiety that this news will create, find good fortune in their futures.