Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Landmark shop premises re-opens in Goring

DOZENS of residents turned up to witness the re-opening of a landmark shop premises in Goring.

Sarah Virgo has opened a beauty salon at the former Napper’s Fine Foods in High Street.

She took up the lease on the Grade II listed, 16th century building after the shop closed in May.

Mrs Virgo, 42, has run a mobile beauty business in the village since 1992 and lives in High Street with her husband Tony.

Michael Napper, whose grandfather William Henry Napper founded the original shop about 100 years ago, cut the ribbon on Saturday morning.

This was followed by a champagne reception inside for supporters, including many of Mrs Virgo’s regular customers.

She has refurbished the shop, which is now called Virgo Beauty. The old shop floor has been redecorated and a store room on the first floor has been converted into a treatment room.

The salon offers manicures and pedicures, nail extensions, facials, massages, fake tan, electrolysis, ear piercing and waxing.

It has two members of staff, a full-time therapist and a receptionist who will also offer advice to customers.

Mrs Virgo said: “I always wanted to have my own premises but finding the right location was paramount. If I could have had any shop it would always have been this one.

“It’s ideally placed so I was very surprised when the lease came up and thrilled to bits when I was offered it. I understand that a lot of people were interested.

“I’ve stripped the whole shop back but I’ve tried to keep the essence of the old Napper’s and have left some of the original features, like the stove. It’s a lovely building and lends itself perfectly to a beauty salon. “I’m glad Michael agreed to re-open it as the Nappers have been integral to the village for many years and their shop held a place in many residents’ hearts.

“Like Napper’s, we are a family business with strong local connections and I think Goring is renowned for that.

“We’re lucky to have a thriving community of independent retailers who complement and support each other. It contributes to footfall in the village and makes it more attractive to visitors.”

Mr Napper, who was accompanied by his wife Sheila, said: “It’s amazing to see my old shop back in use.

“They have done a great job refurbishing it. There are still a few old features here and there but it has been dramatically transformed. It’s strange because I can still see it as it was. I look and think, ‘oh, that’s where the bacon slicer used to be’ and things like that.”

Mr Napper 68, from Woodcote, took over the business from his mother Freda in about 1970 and ran it until he retired and sold up in 2006. During this time, he lived next door in Napper’s Cottage.

The delicatessen was then taken over by Ram Chandar, who ran it as a general stores until he chose not to renew his lease this spring.

Stuart and Anita Hunt, of Bridle Way, Goring, who own the building, applied to South Oxfordshire District Council for change of use permission in August and expect a decision by the end of this month.

Goring Parish Council has recommended approval and the district council’s building conservation officer has raised no objections.

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