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For Andrew and Christine Towle of Eras of Style the internet played a key role. They traded for nine years from a Victorian railway station in Bexhill-on-Sea on the south coast but now have space at a local garden centre near Rye as well as Hemswell Antique Centres, 200 miles away in Lincolnshire.

Andrew, a dealer for 35 years, said: “We traded at Hemswell for about five years even when we had the shop in Bexhill. We left the shop at the end of last year as I was spending more time on the internet and didn’t need to sit in a shop with all the overheads and ties involved. The foreign trade weren’t doing the miles and tended to stick to the fairs so we decided to expand at Hemswell.”

Managing director Robert Miller at Hemswell currently operates four buildings and has invested in a new transaction website that allows for 24-hour shopping and staff to arrange delivery and shipping. The Towles pay around £550 monthly for three spaces at Hemswell.

“We have traded in many shops and places over the years and this seems to suit us as we now have more time on our hands for other things in life," Andrew added.

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