Rain means a busy day for us at antiques centre

Heavy rain and flooding near Settle, North Yorkshire. Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian
Heavy rain and flooding near Settle, North Yorkshire. Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian

Wow – it’s been wet. The other week I don’t think there was a single day when it didn’t stop raining and then, of course, the day I sat down to write this column, it brightened up a bit!

I know everyone likes to grumble when it’s raining and it’s not easy when its pouring down to carry on with the chores, doing the school run etc. but I can’t complain as bad weather means we are always really busy in the antiques centre.

Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park

Allan Blackburn, Owner of GB Antiques Centre and Lancaster Leisure Park

My business is very dependent on the weather.

You wouldn’t think it to be so, after all, it’s not an outdoor swimming pool or nature trail, but we rely on the weather for good trade. We need rain!

On a wet Sunday, for example, instead of getting about 350 visitors a day, we can expect more than 500.

We see a 40 per cent rise in visitors as a minimum. It’s wonderful to see so many people in the centre, but it must be noted that unfortunately turnover does not go up accordingly.

On a fine day people come in to the centre, often to find something specific or a special item they have their hearts set on, and if they find it, they will almost always definitely buy it.

In the rain our visitors spend more time browsing and enjoying the antiques.

They’ll spend time talking about how we used to live or recognising items their grandparents had, but the tills tend to take the same money rain or shine. Maybe I should sell umbrellas...

But I’m not for one minute complaining. There is nothing more that I love, than seeing the centre full of happy visitors.

It was my motivation to start the centre in the first place.

Originally, we only intended to open at the weekends, providing a place where people could come and browse and share their love for antiques and collectables.

Now, after 25 years, we are the biggest indoor centre in the country.

The other Sunday we had our busiest day ever.

We had a record number of visitors topping the 600 mark.

That is a lot of people through the door in six hours.

So, if you get up on a miserable Sunday morning and let out a sigh, think that out there, someone has a little smile on their face...

Me!