When and why did you open your premises?
My father, Peter Light, opened the centre back in 1993. He had a lifelong passion for antiques and was keen to combine this love with being his own boss in his local town. At the time, the choice of location was limited, but even so it’s perfectly positioned. Stamford is a beautiful historic Georgian town. We have room for 70+ dealers all on one level and car parking which is like gold dust in Stamford! Plus it’s easy access from the A1.
What are the advantages of having a permanent location?
We have been located here for nearly 25 years and quite simply people know where we are and what we do. We have a huge regular customer base which includes both the public and dealers from all over the UK, Europe, US and Australia.
How has the passing trade changed since you’ve been open?
Our passing trade has always been good and we get dealers who do the rounds when the big fairs are running. I think what I have noticed is the change in the type of passing trade. These days, antiques are for everybody and as we have always said the centre has “something for everyone”.
Given an unlimited budget what is the one change you would make to the shop?
Apart from skimming our floors, I would improve access and expand our car park. It is great to have such a facility, but at the moment you need to be able to reverse in small spaces.
Why should buyers go to shops as opposed to, say, an auction or fair?
The shop provides a much more relaxed environment which allows customers to take control of the time they need to make sure they have made the right purchases.
What is the biggest challenge of running a shop?
Keeping the centre current in the marketplace – and finding 20 minutes to walk Casper the dog at lunchtime.
St Martin’s Antiques Centre, 23a High Street, St Martins, Stamford, Lincolnshire.