Manchester city centre’s Oklahoma and Cafe Metro announce closures
Manchester says goodbye to two more city centre institutions.
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Two popular city centre spots on the same street have announced they are closing for good, following on from a number of other businesses shutting their doors in recent weeks.
Both businesses, homeware shop Oklahoma and Cafe Metro, have been located on High Street, which runs from the Northern Quarter to Market Street, for 25 years.
Oklahoma is an independent shop that sells a wide range of homeware, such as furniture, kitchenware and ornaments, as well as gift items, like jewellery, cards, vintage toys and books. It was founded in 1997 and has undergone several transformations in that time. At one point it also had a cafe.
Owner Nicola Payne announced the closure on the shop’s Instagram page on January 13, citing the pandemic and a pivot towards online sales as the reasons behind the decision. She said: “The last three years have been ones of upheaval and change for Oklahoma with Covid bringing many problems and opportunities. Mainly it made me focus on our online offering which was exciting for me and allowed time for new creative focus and ideas. As a result, we were able to reach lots of new customers all over the UK and abroad and share a little of the Oklahoma magic.”
“As those who have followed our journey will know, it’s had so many different guises over so many years. It’s been a pleasure working with so many beloved staff members, many of whom I’m still in regular contact with all over the world!”
Customers have commented on the farewell post, saying how much they will miss the shop and, in particular, a penguin statue that stands in the street outside the door.
One person said: “Been coming to Oklahoma since I moved to Manchester for University in 2007! Many happy memories in the café and then shopping since and always taking visitors to Manchester in as one of my favourite must-see shops to browse! You will be missed”
Nicola reassured customers that Oklahoma will continue to trade online only. The physical store will close on 31 January.
Further down High Street, nearer to the Arndale, the family-run Cafe Metro has also announced it will be closing. Like Oklahoma, Cafe Metro had its premises on High Street for 25 years.
Unlike Oklahoma, or many of the other recent city centre closures, post-pandemic recovery and the cost of living crisis were not the reasons for shutting down. Instead, they were forced to shut due to redevelopment.
The owners posted the announcement on Facebook just before Christmas, saying: “It is with regret and great sadness that we announce the closure of Cafe Metro.
“We have come to the end of our lease and the landlords plans to redevelop means that we can’t stay. Although we have looked to relocate we have not been able to find premises that come close to enabling us to offer our customers the same service and pricing.
“With Christmas Eve being our last day, George, Michael and the family would like to thank all our customers for their valued custom and support over the last 25 years, we’ve enjoyed serving you and will miss our chats about life in general, families, cars, F1, football, you name it we’ve probably talked about it.
“Thank you to our valued staff for your hard work and support, particularly now in our final week and last but not least Aida who has been part of the Cafe Metro family for over 20 years - thank you for all your hard work and support until the very end.”
Fans have taken to the comment section to express their sadness over the closure. One user said: “So so sorry to hear that you have closed. My family have eaten at Cafe Metro since you opened, great memories of coming with my grandma 25 years ago. Thank you for many years of great food and service, such a great loss to Manchester.”
Another said: “I’ll be so sorry to see you go after all these years. I don’t know where I’ll go for breakfast now. Thanks for all the years of lovely food.”