CURIOUS customers were treated to a circus-themed celebration at the launch of a unique art and shopping centre in Chester.
Becnicks Wonder Emporium has opened its doors on Christleton Road in Boughton. At the helm are Hoole-based business partners Becky Cooch and Nicky Freer.
“There is absolutely nothing like this in Chester,” said Nicky.
“We want to make it exciting and welcoming for everyone, not only students.”
The market offers a range of one-off goods, from jewellery and vintage clothing to furniture and records.
Exhausted shoppers can even treat themselves to a hot drink and home-made cake in the Emporium’s own tea shop.
Art-lovers can also browse the site’s gallery, currently displaying works by Tattenhall photographer John Cosby.
Vintage fair fans Becky and Nicky decided to take the plunge after spotting the former Wheatsheaf pub premises, which had been left empty for many years.
“We just saw it, thought it was brilliant, set a launch date and that was it,” says Nicky.
The duo set out on a six-week renovation project to transform the run-down site on a shoe-string budget.
“Doing up the building was awful,” says Becky.
“We did everything ourselves really, from painting to stripping walls.
“The little money we did have, we just threw into it.”
The pair are grateful to those friends who helped with painting and DIY.
“It could not have started, and it won’t continue, without those people’s help,” said Nicky.
The Emporium will this weekend play host to a book exchange. Visitors are invited to bring unwanted books to the market and swap them for those brought by other customers.
Becnicks is open from 10am to 6pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and 11am to 4pm on Sundays.