A member of a food shop, which served the community for nearly five decades, has shared her feelings about the business' closure.

Pulse announced it will be closing on Tuesday (March 26) due to inability to compete with supermarkets and financial issues exacerbated by the Covid pandemic.

It opened as a workers' cooperative in Curtis Street near the town centre in 1976, and was an early provider of vegan and vegetarian products to the community.

Cath Dolling, 60, has been a member since 1999 and said: “It’s been one of the best jobs ever. 

“When you are here on the day you are your own boss and you haven’t got someone telling you what to do.”

The cooperative has no owner and is managed by the members who work there.

There are now three members of the cooperative.

Ms Dolling said the decision to close the shop by the members was not difficult.

She added: “You could just see when it was heading and it sort of became a bit unavoidable really.

“People just weren’t coming in. And then you get into a vicious circle. You’ve not got enough people coming in, so then you haven’t got enough money to buy stock.”

She explained that brick-and-mortar shops find it hard to compete with online shops which do not need to pay rent.

From the customer’s perspective, the cost-of-living crisis has meant everyone has less money to spend, forcing them to go to cheaper supermarkets.

The end of Pulse comes a month after the closure of the nearby Baguette Bar in Prospect Place, which ceased trading after 31 years for similar reasons.

Both shops received a huge response from sad customers, coming in with cards and flowers, as well as hoping to find a bargain in the shop’s ongoing closing down sale.

In return Ms Dolling said: “Thank you for all your custom over the years, and it is a shame we have to close.”

The shop was an early provider for vegans and vegetarians in Swindon when the diets were less common.

Ms Dolling said: “Vegetarianism was quite an alternative thing in 1976, and since then vegetarian stuff has gone mainstream. 

“So I suppose the shop has quietly done its job in that respect.”

The flower mural on the front of the shop was painted by Paul Walters, who lives nearby.

The shop will be hosting a closing down ceremony with Matt Holland, Swindon Festival of Literature founder and once cooperative member, on Tuesday at 4.30pm to mark the shop’s last day.