Shock and sadness as Wigan plant-based cafe and restaurant The Coven shuts down

The owner of Wigan’s popular plant-based restaurant The Coven says a challenging environment for small businesses has led to her having to close the place.

Thursday, 24th October 2019, 10:15 am
Sue Healy (right) with Coral Sinclair and Eleanor Healy

The vegan and vegetarian eatery abruptly shut its doors last Friday only a year after moving to new premises at culture hub The Old Courts.

The Coven, which had been running for seven years and was based in a small unit on Hallgate before decamping to Crawford Street, had welcomed visitors from far and wide looking to enjoy freshly-prepared food without meat and with plenty of dairy-free options too.

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But founder Sue Healy, who was running it with daughter and business partner Eleanor, said circumstances beyond their control made continuing with the venue impossible.

In a Facebook post she said: “It has been amazing, but it is really tough running a business this size.

“People have come from Manchester and Liverpool to our town to visit our cafe and restaurant, which is great. The customers have been amazing, the responses to our post on Facebook have been lovely. I knew they were special and I want to stress how grateful I am to them. The Old Courts has also been so supportive.

“Even people who are not vegan or vegetarian have come because of what the place is like and everything is freshly made. The comments about what it’s like to be here and the welcome are as important to me as the food. I’ve never wanted to do it any other way.

“The things that have made us shut are out of our control. We have done what we could with lots of help from friends, family, customers and The Old Courts.

“I don’t think the Government makes it easy for small businesses at all but I’m shutting down with no ill will towards anybody.”

Sue spoke of the huge amount of work family and friends put in to help and also thanked her loyal customer base.

Scores of people took to the comments section to share their sadness and their memories of eating there. Some spoke of how The Coven had encouraged them to reduce their consumption of animal products or cut them from their diets entirely.

Sue encouraged Wiganers to continue supporting The Old Courts and to give full backing to whatever takes over the space. She said she and her team will take stock before considering her next project.