Beloved cafés, household brands and charity shops have all shut their doors for good over the past year.

Changes have been seen in high streets across the UK, with Hitchin and Stevenage no exception.

With that in mind, let's fondly remember seven businesses that have shut their doors in 2023.

1. Argos, Roaring Meg

The Comet: Argos, in the Roaring Meg retail park, shut its doors in November.Argos, in the Roaring Meg retail park, shut its doors in November. (Image: Nick Francis)

Now with a counter service in Sainsbury's, Stevenage's Argos store closed its doors for good on November 23.

Earlier this year, Argos announced plans to shut 100 stores within 12 months, with the retailer moving towards branches within Sainsbury's supermarkets.

The grocery giant now owns the Argos brand, and sales within supermarkets have now overtaken sales from standalone stores.

Read more here.

2. The Works, Bancroft

The Comet: The Works former store on Bancroft, Hitchin.The Works former store on Bancroft, Hitchin. (Image: Google Maps)

The Works - between Superdrug and Costa on Bancroft, Hitchin - closed for the final time on Thursday, August 24.

A spokesperson for the company said: "This has been a great location for The Works, but sadly we have been unable to agree a viable rent agreement with the landlord."

The Works' nearest stores to Hitchin are now in Stevenage and Letchworth.

Read more here.

3. Garden House Hospice, Queensway

The Comet: Garden House Hospice's former store in Stevenage.Garden House Hospice's former store in Stevenage. (Image: Pearce Bates)

A charity shop in Stevenage, operated by Garden House Hospice, shut its doors on November 11.

The shop opened in 2019, but "struggled to match the success of the other hospice shops across Stevenage, North Hertfordshire and beyond".

The four staff members affected by the closure have all been offered alternative positions within Garden House Hospice Care.

Read more here.

4. Wilko, Hitchin and Stevenage

The Comet: Stevenage's former Wilko store.Stevenage's former Wilko store. (Image: Georgia Barrow / Newsquest)

With Wilko stores closing across the country, the retailer's outlets in Stevenage and Hitchin both made way in 2023.

The Stevenage store opened for the final time on September 19, while Hitchin's shop closed on October 3.

Poundland has since moved into the former Wilko unit in Stevenage.

Earlier this year, the GMB Union confirmed that all 400 Wilko stores would shut by early October.

Read more here.

5. M&Co, Hitchin High Street

The Comet: All M&Co stores across the UK have now closed.All M&Co stores across the UK have now closed. (Image: Dan Mountney)

The M&Co store in Hitchin High Street closed in April, after the clothing retailer announced that it would be closing all of its 170 stores across the country.

M&Co went into administration in December 2022, and was bought by AK Retail Holdings, which also owns Yours. 

However, that deal only included the brand name and intellectual property, and not physical stores.

Read more here.

6. Deroka, Sun Street

The Comet: The former Deroka restaurant, Hitchin.The former Deroka restaurant, Hitchin. (Image: Dan Mountney)

In August, diners reported booking tables at Deroka, a Mexican restaurant in Hitchin, only to find that it had closed.

Deroka's website is no longer accessible, and calls to the restaurant went unanswered, but no official announcement about the restaurant's future was made.

The eatery remains shut to this day.

Read more here.

7. Chia Naturally Healthy, Market Place

The Comet: The counter in Chia Naturally Healthy.The counter in Chia Naturally Healthy. (Image: Jacob Milligan)

Chia Naturally Healthy, in Market Place, marked its last day in Hitchin on Sunday, June 11.

Lucy Fisher opened the café in 2015, inspired by a family trip to Australia where she found that healthy cafés were booming.

However, she has now stepped away from the business saying that she wants "to be able to focus on raising my children and being there for them always".

Read more here.