The space is a warehouse hidden down an alley in Arundel, West Sussex. It is the last remaining building of the 19th century Swallow Brewery, which we chose for its size and price. I started there 20 years ago while my husband Nass was working for a top antique dealer.
For a while I left the warehouse and moved around the antique centres in the town and then set up a showroom and workshop in an old barn on a farm outside Arundel. Then 10 years ago Nass and I joined forces. The warehouse was still empty, so we returned.
How do you divide responsibilities?
Nass works at the shop with extra help from friends when required. I cover the occasional day but mostly work on decorating furniture in the riverside studio we have in our Arundel home – I specialise in decoupage on Victorian furniture and on vintage boxes and bowls. I also work online, updating websites, organising deliveries and emailing customers.
How is the shop designed?
It’s down to Nass who arranges head-turning displays. He likes to encourage customers to meander round the warehouse in order to fully see everything.
What’s the atmosphere in Arundel like and how has it changed over the years?
We have US trade customers who have visited for many years, but the area is fast becoming a destination for the UK-based antiques trade and interior designers. The back of the Co-op isn’t the most salubrious place in Arundel, but in general the town has a buzzy, friendly atmosphere.
Out of sight, out of mind: because it’s an old warehouse there are no windows. The council won’t allow signs. No signs. No windows. Long term, the biggest challenge is the possible redevelopment of the site.
What events do you host?
Open evenings, to remind folks we are here. These are fun and good for business. Arundel people like to support – they also like to party.
The Old Brewery Antiques Warehouses, 2A Fitzalan Road, Arundel, West Sussex, BN18 9JS