Traders who were left devastated when they were told to leave the Market Place Shopping Centre in Burgess Hill to make way for Argos have thanked the public for helping them.
Each of the six businesses, some of whom were at the shopping centre for more than 20 years, were forced to find new homes when they were given notice to leave in May.
I would like to say a massive thank you to the public for being such a huge support.Jo Stone
Among them was Jo Stone, 44, of The Hawthorns, Burgess Hill, who runs Boomerang barber shop. She was given two weeks’ notice to leave the market and has since moved into a new premises in Church Walk.
She said: “We opened our new premises on May 30, and it has been brilliant. It is much better than being in the Market Place.
“We have a two-year lease, but we can be given notice to leave after six months.
“It has gone really well despite the circumstances and I hope to be here for the next two years.
“I would like to say a massive thank you to the public for being such a huge support.
“It has been hard work but everyone helped us with the move.
“It is amazing what you can achieve in three weeks. And it is important to show what can be done if you really put your mind to it. I feel very proud.”
Marcus Pearson, 41, of Starling Close, Burgess Hill, ran a picture framing business in the market. He was also given two weeks’ notice to leave. He has moved into a new premises near to Jo’s in Church Walk.
He said: “It was the shock for me that I handed in my notice to make sure I got my two months’ notice but the next day I was told to leave in two weeks.
“I am still angry and upset about how it was all dealt with. I just want to thank all my customers. Everyone who has come in has been so supportive.
“The Market Place was a great location for the footfall but for a picture frame company it wasn’t, so this is so much better and it looks so much more professional.
“Twenty to 30 people helped me with the move and this definitely took away the stress of it all.
“I can’t say thank you enough, and especially to Debbie Rathbone who has been brilliant.”
Argos confirmed it was moving into the Market Place Shopping Centre.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm our Burgess Hill store is relocating to the Market Place Shopping Centre. This is so redevelopment work can take place at the Martlets Shopping Centre.”