Friends pool expertise to open new business in Portchester - and bring fresh life to the precinct
TWO life-long friends are hoping to breathe new life into their home town precinct with their new business.
Charles Tuson and Gary Agar met when they were teenagers living in Portchester and studying at Portchester Community School.
Now years later, the duo have joined forces and pooled expertise to open their first business venture – Castles Estate Agents.
They have spent months and a significant amount of money transforming the former Natwest bank in Portchester Precinct into a stylish new office, and they were delighted to officially open for business at the end of January.
Charles, 30, said: ‘I have been an estate agent for more than 10 years, working at estate agencies in Portsmouth.
‘Gary has been working in building and construction.
‘The plan was to eventually run our own business and do our own thing.
‘Fortunately we were in a position to take on a unit in Portchester where we both grew up.
‘There are only really a couple of agents in Portchester, in Portsmouth there is lots of competition.
‘We wanted to open up a new business here and bring a fresh way of working.
‘There are not many options for people to sell their houses here, we hope to bring a fresh approach, young blood, and a bit of life to the industry and to the precinct.'
Gary, 32, and Charles, have named their business after the nearby Portchester Castle and have based their logo on the castle too. They also have a large design of the castle in their stylish office.
They got the keys to the unit in November and have been working everyday to refurbish it and bring it up to standard.
Charles said: ‘It took longer than we planned due to the Covid restrictions but it’s looking great.
‘We wanted to have a big opening party, get our friends and family along for a glass of Champagne, but we haven’t been able to do that.
‘We are just grateful that we have been able to open, albeit by appointment only and we hope to celebrate in the summer.’
Both Charles’ and Gary’s families still live nearby and they say they are delighted to have returned to their old stomping ground.
Gary, who now lives in Purbook and has a two-year-old daughter called Coco, said: ‘It’s great to be here.'
Charles, who lives in Fareham, said: ‘The reaction has been amazing.
‘We have been overwhelmed by how everybody has welcomed us.
‘It was big deal for us to take the plunge especially with everything that is going on right now, but everyone has been really nice, the lady from the bakery even remembers me from when I was at school.
‘It is great to bring new life to the precinct. The bank was boarded up for three years, and now with us, and Tesco opening, we hope others will follow soon too.
‘We have been very fortunate to be in this position, we are very aware that others are not so lucky, but we hope that if we play our cards right, then we will be successful and a play a part in Portchester, and still be here in 20 or 30 years time.’
Castles Estate Agents is offering sales, as well as financial services information such as mortgage advice and conveyancing. They hope to expand into lettings later this year.
They have brought on board Sean Wrenn to help them get set up.
For more go to facebook.com/castlesestates/