A sweet shop owner who had just 97 cent in his business account after paying all his increased bills last week has regretfully decided to close the business for the sake of his mental health.
Ednan Hameed said he had "no shame" in admitting that rising costs and little Government support left himself and his wife in tears when making the decision to shut the family's 'Yummy Creames' shop in Navan, Co Meath on Friday evening.
The colourful and popular sweet shop was opened almost two years ago by the couple with money they had saved in the hope of passing the family business down to their three children.
However, surging prices of traditional sweets such as bonbons and toffee mice, coupled with an almost three-fold rise in his electricity bill has left the 42-year-old admitting defeat.
"I'm a born and bred Irish man and I worked all my life in different jobs. I worked in the rag trade, in the restaurant business, as a Dublin taxi driver, a security job and even in Carroll's Gift Shop in Dublin," he said.
"I had about eight jobs in seven years and my wife Sobia worked as a carer. We really struggled at that time but we managed to save a bit of money and took a short-term let out on this shop in our home town.
"We did this from our hearts, from our pockets and with all our work. That's the way we wanted to do things. We didn't want handouts and we wanted to hand this business down to our children Ayesha (15), Saad (13) and Tayyab (10).
"But rates, VAT, and increased prices finished us, It seems that no-one wants to give you a break.
First would like to Thank everyone for supporting us its been such a beautiful and emotional experience no words can...
Posted by Yummy Creame's on Sunday, February 19, 2023
"I've no shame in saying this because I know that I tried but last week, after 22 months of trading, all I had was 97 cent in my business account after paying all the bills and my suppliers. It was the first time though that I’d ever been late paying the rent.
"My electricity bill was about €400 ero when I was in contract and now it has soared to about €1000. Soft scoop ice-cream was about €12 a packet when we opened, it rose to €15 and when I bought stock last month, it was over €23. But the ice-cream machine broke anyway two weeks ago and we hadn't got the €1200 needed to fix it.
"We pride ourselves on the traditional sweets like bon bons, pear drops and cola cubes but these have jumped from €3.30 a kilo to €7.20 per kilo. Even the chocolate toffee mice 2.5kg tubs have increased in cost from €12.60 to €18.90.
"A break-in at the shop before Christmas, which left us feeling violated, didn't help our mindset either.
Family businesses under threat
"No one owns a small business anymore. The Government and the tax man own it and I think they don't give a crap about the likes of me or my kids or how I survive to be honest. But what do they want us to do – to go on the dole, which we are trying to avoid. We are trying to avoid any type of social welfare but we don't have much choice now.
"I think the era has gone for the small family business and I am really saddened by this. All I wanted was a break and just like every other parent was to see my children settled in years to come and this was the whole point of us setting up this business.
If you are struggling in business, don't have any shame in walking away. Your mental health and your family and friends are more valuable than any wealth in this world
"People have been so good since learning of the closure. One man even offered me a loan of 20,000 euro but I have lost my heart and when you lose your heart in anything, you should just step away. I've cried and cried but there is nothing more I can do.
"Kids are coming in over the last few days with cards and drawings for us and customers have been crying. The outpouring of love shown to us has been so overwhelming and to be honest, has saved me from the utter despair that I was feeling.
"I was going home each night knowing there was nothing in the bank and unable to look or speak to my wife and kids. It wasn't healthy for my mental health. I did my best and I can't go on. My wife and kids need me and I'm no use to them dead from stress. Now, we will keep on smiling and I will look for a job in order to take care of my wife and kids.
"I pity all small businesses out there. It just seems that the big businesses are getting bigger while the small businesses are disappearing. There was a time when you would say that the small businesses are getting smaller but that's simply no longer true.
"If you are struggling in business, don't have any shame in walking away. Your mental health and your family and friends are more valuable than any wealth in this world."