Antiques on High has traded in Oxford High Street for 20 years, the city’s sole antiques centre, and Tony Sloggett, the owner and antiquarian book dealer wished to retire.
A buyer had been sought for over a year without success and closure loomed for the centre, leased from University College, until a tweet by Laura Chesters, ATG news editor, was picked up by Vincent Page.
The Bournemouth-based investor and furniture dealer is now the centre’s new owner. Page said: “I saw a message posted by Laura some time ago seeking a buyer for ‘a long established antiques centre in Oxford’.
“Our family always had antique furniture, so I have long had a passion for it. Nearly three years ago I started buying various pieces for our newly renovated home in Bournemouth. Pieces bought became pieces sold and it progressed until I saw Laura’s message.”
Page took over in August and in the past two months he has “generated an increase in revenue for the dealers by increasing traffic into the store”. He added: “I have been humbled by many well-wishers who have popped in simply to say ‘thank you for saving the shop’.”
A major refurbishment is now going on at the centre and new dealers are appearing, including a ceramics dealer from Belgium and an art glass specialist, with a list of others wishing to take space. A social media presence is also under way including advertising.
Page said: “I am paying substantial amounts on social media to advertise a business which is a solid, stable business but we do need to drag it forward into the 21st century.”
Future plans include special events and extended opening hours.
Sloggett, speaking from the rigours of a wine-tasting tour in Italy, said: “I am tremendously impressed with the work Vincent has done so far and the energy he has shown in moving the centre forward. I wish him and the shop all the best for the coming years.
“I am also delighted that I shall be able to keep trading at the centre in a small way.” And Page’s take on his acquisition? “This really did go from a tweet to an investment.”
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