Saturday, 18 September 2021

Antiques shop given notice

AN antiques and homeware store was told to leave its new home just three weeks after

AN antiques and homeware store was told to leave its new home just three weeks after moving into the premises.

The Vintage Look will close at the end of next month and leave Henley for good after almost eight years in the town.

It took over the former Spirited Wines premises in Market Place last month. The business, set up by siblings Scott and Michelle Parker in October 2008, previously operated from a two-storey unit at the back of Market Place Mews but the mews is about to be redeveloped.

Catalyst Capital, the landlord, also owns the old wine shop so was able to offer the premises.

Mr Parker told the Henley Standard they had agreed a two-year lease with a two-month release clause for either party. But Catalyst Capital enacted it after just four weeks of the Parkers taking the keys.

They moved in on June 9 but were given the bad news at the end of the month and the shop will have its last day of trading on August 28.

Mr Parker said: “We received a two-month notice, which was legal by the terms of the lease, but it’s rather disappointing. A two-month notice period is a pretty standard thing for a short-term agreement but we never expected it to be so short. I was simply told the landlord required the building back. It’s the end purely because of the cost of premises — it’s too expensive to continue anywhere else.”

Mr Parker called the news “embarrassing” adding: “They should have never let it in the first place. I’ve had to fork out for 6,000 branded carrier bags. We had them in the old shop and we were just running out and had to get the address altered.”

Mr Parker paid £1,100 for the bags and £250 for a new sign at the front of the shop. “The labels, tags and wrapping tissue they’ll get used anyway but it’s the inconvenience of it all,” he said.

The major redevelopment of the mews will start next month and is expected to take about 14 months to complete.

Plans to redevelop the area into 14 flats and 16,000 sq ft of retail space were approved in 2007 but the development has suffered repeated setbacks.

The land used to be owned by the DeStefano Property Group, a parent company of London and Henley Properties, but last year the company went into administration and the site was sold to asset managers Catalyst Capital.

Mr Parker said the current Vintage Look unit was not included in the planning application to redevelop the mews but said he had been told it was needed for access and storage of building materials because the Loch Fyne restaurant next door was having “kitchen alterations”.

He added: “I’m gutted really. We knew the development was taking place behind us and we knew we had until mid-July in the old place. Because we expressed interest in this place as a safety they came back to us and said ‘how about leaving the old place early?’ They were generous — they have given us a very low rent just to occupy the building.

“People are surprised and shocked because they were so relieved we were carrying on. We have got such good support because we’d been in the old place for seven-and-a-half years.”

He now plans to take a break from the retail industry and and finish refurbishing a property he owns in Wiltshire.

“I’ve absolutely loved it here, it was fantastic and we’ve had an amazing time,” he said. “We have great customers and sold lots of quirky things. I love this job, every day is different.”

Catalyst Capital declined to comment.

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