Axminster’s pivotal Trinity House has bounced back into the town’s main street just a few months after gloom descended with the closure of the popular Goulds department store.
Months of planning and sheer hard work have made it possible for the stylishly refurbished building to welcome its first tenant in the shape of the Lou La Belle fashion store. The re-branded business (previously Labels For Less) run by Louise Wall moves from Victoria Place and is one of no fewer than five of the eight units over three floors that are let or in negotiation.
Another (as yet unnamed) shop will join Lou La Belle on the ground floor in a few weeks time, with one further retail space still available to be let. Owner Axminster Property is expecting one prestige business to occupy the whole of the first-floor (three units combined) towards the end of the year, leaving the cellar and a single second-floor office to be let.
Managing Director Ian Styles has himself been amongst the small socially distanced construction team that has been working on the building. It has now been substantially restored to a high standard with a new shopfront and stylish two-tone grey external paintwork . “Taking on Trinity House wasn’t something I needed to do within our wider property portfolio but I had to because I love the place and because Axminster is my home.” Says Ian. “Leaving it to languish was not an option for me.”
The new style of the building takes it back to previous years when it was divided into shop units with space above. Amongst the information that has guided the planning process has been a photo of the building from the 1920s when Axminster first emerged as a bustling town centre.
“I see this as a new start not just for Trinity House but for Axminster as a whole,” says Ian. “I firmly believe the town will now pick up again and move on as a great place to shop. It really does have a lot going for it in all sorts of ways.”
He adds: “We have been working on Trinity House night and day and we have placed a lot of emphasis on quality rather than on just patching it up. It was at a stage where it needed work that would give it longevity rather than a quick fix.”