A former Barclays Bank in Pontypool, which was saved by the local community when it closed its doors in 2017, has reopened as a vintage and antiques emporium.
Ragamuffins Emporium currently features two floors and 2690 square feet of antiques, collectibles, vintage clothing and upcycled furniture, in the heart of Pontypool town centre.
The building was bought by the Pontypool Development Trust charity in 2017 when Barclays closed a number of their smaller branches across the UK.
Seven traders are currently operating out of the premises with another five scheduled to move in over the coming weeks. There are also plans to turn the upper floors into a coffee shop and art space.
Husband and wife team Allun and Nichola Davies have supplied antiques and collectables to TV shows such as Eastenders, The Grand Tour, and for the Queen hit Bohemian Rhapsody. They have also recently featured on the BBC shows Antiques Road Trip, Celebrity Antiques Road Trip, and Flipping Profit.
They opened their first shop in Pontypool in 2016 and took the opportunity to snap up the lease for the Grade II listed Barclays Bank building when it came on the market in August 2018.
Mr Davies said: “I am passionate about Pontypool and this is an iconic, quirky building right at the entrance of the town centre. We were offered a premises in Cwmbran but it just didn’t feel right and when we found out this building was on the market we knew it was where we wanted to be.
“We want this place to become a destination, just like the Pumping Station in Cardiff. We already do a lot of business with customers from Bristol where there is a big vintage scene and as the emporium becomes more successful we hope that it will draw more customers and traders into the town.
“I would like to say thank you to the Friends of Pontypool Town and the Pontypool Development Trust for their support, and to our customers who have been fantastic and have even helped out with the renovation.”
Mark Gregory, chair of the Pontypool Development Trust, said: “It was devastating when we found out that the bank was going as if left a big hole in the town. We made the decision to buy it ourselves to ensure that we could get a new tenant in there as soon as possible.
“Ragamuffins Antiques Emporium is a great fit and we are delighted to see the building put to such good use, and to give a local business the opportunity to expand whilst remaining in the town.”
Councillor Alan Jones, executive member with responsibility for regeneration and business, said: “We worked closely with the Pontypool Development Trust to purchase this building when it became vacant in 2016 and it is fantastic to see a local business take over the space and create something unique that is a real asset to the town.
“The picture in Pontypool is now extremely positive. Occupancy rates are around 82 percent in the town centre and the indoor market will soon welcome an influx of new traders that will take us nearly to capacity.
“We also have some incredibility hardworking and proactive volunteers in the Friends of Pontypool Town that are delivering fantastic events in the town.
“This is a great example of how the community and the council are working together to ensure that the town continues to grow and flourish.”
Posted on: Friday 2nd November 2018