Allan Blackburn column

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

This week I’ve been away on holiday. Please don’t think that I’ve been off work since Christmas Eve and I’m now away again, quite the opposite.

Going away now gives me the break I need after the busiest time of year at the antiques centre.

We are open every day except Christmas day, and as soon as autumn turns to winter and the weather changes for the worst, we get streams of visitors to the centre.

One of the beautys of GB Antiques is that there so many different stall holders (we have 100 individual dealers now) that our customers like to browse for hours and will literally spend all day with us.

It’s full on for all the staff at the centre, so as the January sales first thrust calms down, I take my wife away for a break leaving my son Jimmy in charge. We always go to the Cotswolds.

It’s really a busman’s holiday, as the area is famous for its antiques trade. I am always on the look-out for new pieces to buy and the Cotswolds gives me that balance between relaxing and having some time as a family, as well as not quite leaving work at work.

In the run up to Christmas we see lots of people looking for that perfect Christmas present and we sell lots of tables and chairs in December.

I presume that the reason the bigger sets sell now (six seats or more) is that people realise they can’t fit all those extra family members around their existing table, so use the Christmas meal as time for a change of dining suite.

We saw a record week for sales with a 25 per cent increase on last year – more than ever before.

After the festivities, we see a rush of visitors coming in to spend their Christmas money.

The items sold are all “treats”.

People add to their collections with money they’ve saved up or been given as presents.

I like to think of husbands treating their wife to something special to chase away the January blues.

Popular at this time of year is beautiful glassware, Beswick animals, Dalton figurines, Lladro and Nao.

So, after a manic two months of trading, we have a quiet week away and come back relaxed and refreshed.