A MUCH-LOVED chocolate shop forced to close is set to return to town... but only for Christmas.

The independent chocolate shop Minerva closed at the end of last year after suffering a decade of falling sales.

Despite staff trying everything to reduce costs, the shop in Eld Lane closed and the building has now been sold.

However following a flurry of calls from shoppers who sorely missed them, staff are set to return to a new venue next month.

The shop will open its doors in the High Street, in the old currency exchange shop underneath the Red Lion Hotel.

Business owner Alan Edwards said: “It really is a lovely story. When we closed we fielded calls from 200 people saying ‘we can’t be without you for Christmas, it isn’t going to be the same’.

“The next thing that happened is we wanted to see if we could revive it so we went over to Belgium.

“[We found somewhere and] they said it was a great idea and they would help us with supplies, which was great news.

“The final thing was the girls, we assemble everything in the shop and so we need really skilled girls and they all said they would come back.

“By May we had all the supplies and staff in place.”

In September they met with Lion Walk bosses who offered them the High Street building.

Alan said: “We are doing the shop fitting now and it should be done by next week.

“We will trade up to Christmas Eve for certain and depending on trade we will stay for a week after Christmas.

“We will be gone by January 10.”

Alan said the future of the shop beyond the New Year is uncertain, but it could return again in 2020 for Christmas.

When the shop closed last year he said it had seen 12,000 less customers a year than they were serving ten years ago.

He said: “From a financial point of view the way trade is looking as the moment we wouldn’t make any money in a year.

“Had we stayed open last year we would have gone down at least £15,000.

“We are taking the plunge and if this works we may be back next year.”

The shop will be opening on November 6 at 10am.

Opening hours will be Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.

For more information visit Facebook and search Minerva Chocolates.