07:00 November 17th, 2021
The resurrection of Axminster’s Trinity House has reached a new milestone as the massively restored building welcomes the Archway Bookshop as the fourth tenant.
And when Christmas approaches, even Santa Claus will live deep in the cellars!
The bookstore’s move from Church Street to Trinity Square was somewhat delayed by an acute national glass shortage, but with its spacious windows now installed, the store opened its new doors on Thursday (November 11th). Meanwhile, the hard-working construction team at Axminster Property will turn to the cellars, in which a grotto will take shape.
The idea for âSanta at Trinityâ came (along with sponsorship) from the company’s managing director, Ian Styles. “I really want the church in my hometown to enjoy the full Christmas spirit this year, and there is no better way than creating a little magic for children,” he says.
The event is supported by Totally Locally Axminster and the Community Waffle House, where the children’s journey to the grotto starts. An elevator ride takes you into the depths of the basement of Trinity House, with a “secret” path lit by twinkling lights to meet you with Santa Claus. The tickets for the event were sold out within a few hours of the start of sales.
With the Lou La Belle Boutique, The Crafty Hobbit and The Community Waffle House at Trinity House, the arrival of the Archway Bookshop marks a dramatic turn in the fate of a building that was abandoned as an unprofitable department store two years ago. âIt didn’t really fit into our real estate portfolio at the time, but it was very painful to see it empty,â says Ian Styles. “I’m really happy now how we got it back to its former glory and it’s an absolute pleasure to have local independent businesses there.”
He added, “It’s been really rewarding to work with each of the individual companies, taking the seeds of an idea and building it with them.”
The Archway Bookshop was founded 55 years ago on nearby Church Street. At the beginning of 2019, the current owner, Simon Holmes, took over the business. He admits to being âpretty sadâ to leave such beautiful old premises. âIt’s the epitome of what an independent bookstore should be,â he says. âThe reality, however, is that it no longer has the space we need and we can’t expand the way we’d like. It’s also inaccessible because the vast majority of our non-fiction department lives upstairs on a spiral staircase.
âTrinity House looks back on over 200 years of history, but it also offers us a lot more space and we are excited about the work Axminster Property is doing to create something very special for book lovers. We are confident that it will become one of the most popular bookstores in the Southwest and beyond. ”
Simon is supported in the new shop by the experienced employees Tim Pritchard, Rachel Tattersell and Liz Stonex. âWorking in a bookstore is one of those dream jobs,â says Tim, who has been in the bookstore for over 20 years. âThe current shop is a fantastic building, but there have always been limitations. I know we will do everything in our power to make the new shop feel like the same magical personal experience. The space is unbelievable, as is the fact that we are going from what is probably the smallest shop window in Axminster to the largest! ”
Now that the above-ground parts of the building are flourishing again, the basement is now moving into focus as a potential area for business and community activities. The cellar belongs to Santa Claus and his elves for the time being!