When and how did you open the centre?
I’ve been trading since 1975. I used to have a shop but then I had a warehouse and was trading from various fairs around the country.
This was an existing centre which the owner was thinking of closing – when they offered it to me I took it with both hands and have been transforming it. We’ve been open since June.
What have you done to the premises so far?
I’ve been sprucing it up, doing a lot of decorating and putting in new carpets. I had to clear out four rooms and redo them. It’s an ongoing process but within 12 months it will all be done. I’ve also brought in several high-quality dealers. I run the place and sell on their behalf which frees them up to travel and buy.
Are you still standing at fairs?
No. I was getting disillusioned with the whole fair circuit which is one of the reasons I’ve gone back to having a premises. It’s so expensive for customers to visit fairs that by the time they get to the stand they might not buy anything. This gives them a place to go.
What sort of customers are visiting?
There’s a lot of trade. Although we do like retail, this is really becoming a trade centre. We’ve also had some international visitors coming from the US, Italy and Spain.
How do you publicise the centre?
We get people who come after seeing us on Instagram and Facebook. And because I’ve been on the scene for a while I’ve put the word out to dealers I know. We’ve also done some leafleting.
What is one key to a great premises?
One of the first things I did was put in music and a coffee machine. It is little things like that which make all the difference. If a trader has been on the road all day and knows that coming to us means the chance for a free cup of coffee and a chat they will make it a destination.
One change you would make given an unlimited budget?
I would love the centre to be along the lines of Spencer Swaffer’s shop in Arundel, West Sussex.
Bridgnorth Antique Centre, Whitburn Street, Bridgnorth, WV16 4QT