USE it or lose it – that is the message from the owner of a Basingstoke independent business which is under threat of closure if sales do not pick up within the next few weeks.

Sue Foley, owner of The Little Barn Health and Gift Shop, at Scrapps Hill Farm, in Worting Road, has appealed to her customers to support her business or it will have to close this month when the lease runs out.

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The 60-year-old mother-of-one, who opened the shop in 2007, has been through a difficult time after being diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer at the beginning of the year, and finding out she has two tumours in her brain which affect her hearing and balance.

She said: “It’s with sadness that we may close The Little Barn Health and Gift Shop at the end of this month. Unfortunately, the past couple of years with the lockdowns and especially the last few months with illness have dealt us a big blow.”

Sue said the shop has “a matter of weeks to remain open” if customers do not come out to support The Little Barn, which offers a range of natural remedies.

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She added: “As with many small business people, we rely on person contact and feet through the door. Although we do have an online shop, we can't compete with corporate companies offering luring incentives, cheap offers and free postage that we would struggle to offer and keep our head above water.”

The shop owner said customers have benefited from “honest genuine researched advice, direction and personal engagement” throughout her years of trading, which she said is “something that is not received elsewhere”.

“Unless there is a turnaround, we will not stay open,” she warned.

Sue is mindful that the impact of her illness resulting in reduced opening hours has not helped, and so she has decided to increase the opening hours in the next couple of weeks in a bid to encourage more customers through the door.

The Little Barn Health and Gift Shop will open Thursday to Saturday from 11am to 4pm.