This week, the second-hand gym in London has closed its doors and its owners have announced their departure from the city.
In its place, a new brand, Second Hand Kitchen, will open on October 12.
The move to open a new franchise comes after a series of setbacks for the company, including the fact that it is losing the support of the Royal British Legion, which has taken a hard line on shoplifting and drug use.
The Second Hand Kiosk was founded in 2013, but has since been operating independently, taking advantage of the growing popularity of online cafes and second-screen apps such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The business opened in London’s Regent Street, a popular area for first-time restaurateurs, which is home to some of the country’s best restaurants, bars and cinemas.
It had also set up a second shop in the heart of London’s financial district.
Second Hand Kitchen’s Facebook page posted an update on Thursday, announcing that it was closing the shop and moving its operations to a new premises in an undisclosed location.
The announcement came after a “significant period of time” was spent “exploring different options” for the shop, it said.
But the new brand has attracted a lot of criticism, with some branding experts describing it as a “sad” example of how “third-party businesses” are able to take advantage of Londoners’ increasing access to the internet.
“The idea of second-level franchisees is a bit of a joke,” said Mark Hickey, founder of Second Hand, in an interview with The Times newspaper.
“People are coming in from all over the world, and people don’t necessarily know what to do with it.
They come in and they want to eat here, and they come in expecting the same things.”
It’s not a brand that should be taking advantage.
“You’ve got to have a very clear vision of what you want, and you’ve got no choice but to open up your business to a wider audience.”
Second Hand Kinsman, the new franchise’s website, did not respond to requests for comment.
Hickey added that Second Hand would be focusing on “developing new products, including new brands, as well as the expansion of its existing online and offline business”.
However, the website did not explain what those products were, or what the new team was working on.
“Our focus is on creating a new, exciting and sustainable business, as we look to build a new business that will be recognised by the Royal Family, the City of London and the UK public,” it added.
A spokesperson for the Royal Household said: “The Royal Household will always support the growth of businesses that have a positive impact on the economy and our residents, particularly in our areas of the capital.”
The spokesperson added that it “does not comment on rumours or speculation”, adding: “We are aware of the ongoing problems faced by Second Hand and will take appropriate action.”
A spokesperson from Amazon Prime UK told The Times that the company is “aware of the situation”.
“We have recently reviewed Second Hand’s website and will continue to monitor this issue closely,” the spokesperson added.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence has not yet commented on the issue.