Published: 08:42, 29 October 2020
| Updated: 09:34, 29 October 2020
It was a dream come true for Simon and Sandra Fowle when their new tea, coffee, cake and gift shop Bosuns opened for business on Wednesday.
Despite many other businesses suffering from the effects of the coronavirus restrictions, the couple from Queenborough on the Isle of Sheppey have taken the plunge and brought a 284-year-old derelict bosun’s store on the corner of the High Street and West Street back to life.
Simon, a retired structural engineer who specialised in historic buildings, says he could see the potential.
He said: “We, and a team of local craftsmen, have worked so hard to restore the Grade II-listed building and bring it back to its former glory.
“We hope that it will become a welcome addition to Queenborough and to the Island. We believe it is the first new shop to open in Queenborough High Street for a generation.”
The couple have also created a luxury Air B’n’B above the shop and have employed a staff of five.
Sandra said: "We can’t thank everyone enough for supporting us. We were packed out in a Covid-safe way. It was so wonderful to see so many friendly faces and to receive such encouragement."
The shop also received a blessing from the Rev Cindy Kent.
The premises, originally called Bosun's Stores, had been empty for about 15 years and needed a huge investment to make them structurally sound with new floors, windows, wiring and plumbing.
Simon, a councillor with Swale council, said: "We managed to keep the existing wooden counter from when the shopwas a boat chandlers and have amalgamated it into the design.
"We are hoping this will prove popular with the many boat owners who use Queenborough harbour and that it will become a destination people will want to visit."
Queenborough is undergoing something of a revival.
The town already boasts the Flying Dutchman, Old House at Home and Rose pubs, the Queen Phillippa bed and breakfast with Jacey's bistro and bar, the Mint and Chocolate Eatery and the award-winning Admiral's Arm micropub.