Business takes off as retro makes return

BOxford, Suffolk. Michelle and Chris Warren in their new business venture called Suffolk Vintage and Bygones at Green Lawn's bozai. ANL-141014-170758009
BOxford, Suffolk. Michelle and Chris Warren in their new business venture called Suffolk Vintage and Bygones at Green Lawn's bozai. ANL-141014-170758009

TV programmes such as Downton Abbey are fuelling a vintage revival according to a woman who has set up a new shop in Boxford.

Suffolk Vintage and Bygones specialises in vintage and retro furnishings, crockery and bygones, including old signs, posters and tools.

Originally the online brainchild of Michelle Warren, who wanted to make some money while at home in Rockalls Road in Polstead with her children, the business venture grew and grew.

Weekends were spent visiting car boot sales, auctions and fairs, looking for those special items that could make a few pounds profit.

Now the 49-year-old, aided by her husband and chief buyer Chris, 52, have found themselves a base, opening a shop in the Green Lawns Bonsai garden centre in Hadleigh Road.

“Vintage has really come back in the last few years,” said Mrs Warren. “TV is really important – it’s nostalgia, people love the fact that it’s something their granny used.”

Particularly popular is vintage crockery and china from the 1950s, boosted by shows such as the Great British Bake Off and the return in popularity of afternoon tea.

The venture’s stand-out sale, however, is a little less refined.

“My husband has a very keen eye,” explained Mrs Warren. “Last year, he bought a petrol can for £10, which sold for £560.

“It’s silly money for silly things.”

The business is a family affair with the couple’s son and three daughters all involved at some level.

Ryan, 18, has taken a particular interest in finding old tools, cleaning them up and selling them on.

Mrs Warren said: “We are a bit-part museum – people come in for a wander and a nosey.”

As for future aims, Mrs Warren said she hoped to expand the business and possibly open the old tea rooms that used to be in the centre.