Dealer Jenny Symes took on the lease and the running of the 4000 sq ft antiques and vintage centre earlier this summer with a team of eight staff and has plans to introduce new categories and dealers.
The Surrey business currently sells the stock of 65 traders including five new to the business who have joined in the past two months.
A refresh of the centre’s website is planned and services such as personal shopping are available.
Symes said: “We introduced a personal shopping service and customers can book a slot to be shown around. We recently had a man who travelled down from the north of England who was looking for items with cherubs. We took him around and he bought £700 of cherub items. We have had quite a few quirky requests.”
Also among the recent changes was the taking over of the running of the café and changing it to an ‘English tearoom’.
Vintage to repurposed
Alongside traditional antiques and collectables the centre will introduce a vintage fashion section later this year, as well as tech-related items that have been repurposed (for example, typewriters and surveying equipment) which Symes believes will attract those Steampunk enthusiasts (the subgenre of science-fiction mixing technology with aesthetics inspired by the Victorian age).
Other areas that Symes believes could be growing due to a younger generation of collectors who are nostalgic for their youth is 1990s rave culture memorabilia, music bands and tour T-shirts, music memorabilia and possibly video gaming.
Alongside these new interests, she says the demand for traditional antiques continues - particularly from prop buyers, but also younger buyers.
Symes explains: “There is a wealthy catchment around Farnham but we also have quite a young demographic as we are close to the Farnham campus of The University for the Creative Arts, so we see plenty of art students visit.”
Symes plans to install more room sets in the centre to “create theatre” and will also pass on advice to dealers about the latest interior design trends such as “green kitchens or velvet being popular” to help the dealers buy stock accordingly.
The building, owned by Glynn Evans who also owns The White Lion Antiques Centre in Hampshire, has had a difficult recent past. It suffered a devastating fire in 2015 which gutted the building. After extensive restoration it reopened in November 2019, only months before the pandemic lockdowns.
Symes hopes by diversifying the centre it will widen its audience and attract a larger demographic.
She adds: “Buying second hand really fits into the ethos of sustainability for younger people so we will continue to promote that.”