It looks like it's finally going to happen in just over a week.
Last year, Bren became aware of local government grants aimed at bringing empty retail properties back into use. She applied for a grant, and her application was successful.
She'd identified what she thought was the ideal premises, and hoped at one point to open in January this year. - The Taxi office in the picture below...
Then things started going awry. The estate agents were an absolute fucking disgrace. They were uncommunicative in the extreme. Phone calls, emails, even calling in person to their offices and getting stroppy with the receptionist got us nowhere. Bren managed to speak to the guy in the adjascent property. He was also trying to get it, and we get the feeling that the agents were attempting to play us off each other. In the end, we backed out, and as far as I'm aware, so did the other party. The shop sits empty and will continue to do so for the forseeable future.
Meanwhile, Bren found an alternative shop. Not quite as good footfall, but close enough to the town centre for it to be viable. the premises themselves required a lot less work, and are probably better suited to the use Bren intends to put them to.
The shop will be selling art and craft items made by local artists and craftspeople, and will also be a venue for workshops, either run by Bren, or by other crafters.
She could have been in a couple of months ago maybe, but having engaged a solicitor when she'd hoped to get the previous property, she got him to take a look at the proposed lease.
This led to further delays as negotiations took place over the terms of the lease, but today we got an email that seems to indicate that we will be exchanging contracts and getting the keys next Monday.
We've spent thousands on this, and until everything is up and running, none of the grant money can be paid. Our house is stuffed to the rafters with stock, fittings, laminate flooring, and such like, all of which we've picked up as cheaply as possible. We've driven all over the North West, picking up wardrobes and sideboards to use as display fixtures. All of this stuff will now need to be moved from the house to the shop. We're paying a handyman to lay the flooring, but just about everything else will be done by Bren. I will try to help as much as I can, as I suppose will other friends and relatives.
One other outcome of all this is that we're giving up the allotment. This is partly because Bren can no longer spare the time, but there's a lot more to it than that. More about this in a future post.
driving lessons in Wallasey?