We are buying the residential property next door, 43 Church Street, which used to be a haberdashery shop and originally it was all one building.
Our plan is to convert it back into a commercial shop and bring it back into useful service for the community by expanding our very busy little shop around the corner.
- The new building will enable us to provide more office space, a commercial kitchen and community cafe for our incubated local businesses to run and grow their micro ventures alongside us.
- It will also help us do more to support our community activities with young people, isolated older residents and people with health issues or disabilities.
In nine months of trading our shop turnover has tripled and the shop is bursting at the seams with the 1,500+ products we sell. It’s been very challenging to find enough room for the amount of stock we order, the home deliveries we do and the number of people needed to run this shop.
We urgently need to employ more people, provide space for more incubated micro businesses to grow, as well as increase our range of chilled and frozen products, fresh local produce, gifts etc – but we can’t physically fit anymore into this building!
One option was to build an extension going back on the site but we were dreading the disruption it would cause the business.
The alleyway between the properties is owned by next door and the street entrance into the alley is the only suitable access into our property for deliveries.
The rear of our building is an awkward wedge shape which makes it difficult to build onto and the shop would have to close for a couple of weeks even if all we did was modernise the shop fittings because space is so limited.
It is more practical, cost effective and a better long term investment to buy next door because where it originally one property there is still a wide doorway opening on both the shop wall and next door, facing each other in the alley to link the ground floor rooms and it has only been boarded up. All we would need to do is remove these stud wall partition boards and some infill blocks and tidy up the opening to instantly more than triple our shop floor sales area.
We can install the shop fittings and modern wall-to-wall chiller units into next door without any major structural work and be trading in this much larger space while our current sales area has a re-fit of new shelving and flooring, so we wouldn’t have to close to do any of this work.
Owning next door will also open up the rear of the site to us too, we wouldn’t need to do anything to instantly improve our access, storage and parking areas.
The sale is agreed and it’s currently going through conveyancing, as soon as we have the keys the shopfitting work will get underway. We can’t wait, it’s going to transform this business to the next level and add to the vibrancy of the village.
Trudy Thompson and Josh Taylor
Hunter Grange Investments Ltd