How did you choose the location of your shop?
It was entirely down to fate. I happened to see this old school house when I was driving one day. I’d never been past it before and I wasn’t even looking for premises, but when I saw this place I doubled back and dialled the number on the sign and an agent came over right away to show me around.
I remember it was a Friday afternoon and I was standing there with parquet flooring below me and vaulted ceilings above, thinking “what a fantastic building”, so I bought it.
When did you open?
February 4 after several years of works.
What can be found in the shop?
Around a third of it is a house where I live and, as well as offering antiques, we have a florist, farm shop, café, deli and butcher.
Why is Messingham a good location for the business?
Messingham is a jewel in the crown of Lincolnshire. Here, people have time to talk to you. In London, where I lived for 59 years, it’s all rushing around at 200 miles per hour, but here there’s time to chat.
People come in and have a coffee and a cake and then come over to have a word – they often know me from TV (I’m on BBC’s Bargain Hunt and Channel 4’s Posh Pawn). We’ve already been very busy, with anyone from a one-day-old baby to a 100-year-old woman coming through the door.
What has been the hardest part of setting up?
The building work. It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears.
How do you display the stock?
Having a nice building really helps. The school is 110 years old and is the perfect backdrop to what we sell. There are chandeliers hung from the ceiling, a good mix of stock in display cabinets and on the wall.
We also have these Victorian sunken mothering chairs which we’ve reupholstered in modern, funky materials – people love them.
- Messingham Farm Shop & Café, 42a Northfield Road, Messingham, Lincolnshire, DN17 3SA