Southsea business owner hopes to see her shop become a community hub once again

A SOUTHSEA business owner hopes to see her shop return to being a community hub when lockdown restrictions are eased this year.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 7:00 am
SouthScene in Albert Road. Picture by Paul Messer Photography

Kate Thatcher runs SouthScene, in Albert Road, a shop offering antique, vintage, retro and eclectic items coupled with barista coffee, tea and light bites.

During the pandemic, Kate has had to close her doors and funds have been eaten up.

As a single parent, having to fund two rents both for home and work hasn’t been easy and while the government grants have helped, Kate is desperate to be open and trading.

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Kate Thatcher, runs SouthScene in Albert Road. Picture by Paul Messer Photography

‘The shop was becoming a real hub where residents and traders came together and enjoyed each other’s company, as well as the shop itself. I want to build on that,’ Kate said.

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SouthScene has a trading area to the front, leading to a small space in the centre known as The Rabbit Hole, which new employee Dominique is helping bring to life as a snug coffee bar.

The area to the back of the store, as well as being a social area, Kate plans to rent out, allowing local creatives to showcase their work or to hold one-off events, classes or meetings.

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They also hope to fit a log burner and to obtain a licence for alcohol for private events.

The shop opened its doors four years ago, but the business began long before that when Kate was pregnant with her youngest daughter.

Kate, who was working in hospitality, began buying stock, filling her basement with interesting finds. When space ran out, Kate went on to find an old car sales garage in Cromwell Road and took on a lease.

‘I filled it full of items and with the remaining space, I rented out sections to other traders who opened the shop while I was being enormous and pregnant,’ Kate said.

Kate set up a Facebook page and traded on there, plus websites like eBay and Gumtree. A year on, Kate moved to Albert Road, taking over a café and running it as a café and shop together, where the business became known as SouthScene.

Kate displayed the work of local artists and started to concentrate on retro, vintage and antique items.

Eventually, Kate moved to 32 Albert Road, her current premises where she’s been happily trading for four years.

‘I love my trade. I was always told if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life,’ she said.

‘I’ve always loved old, traditional items and architecture. I admired the workmanship that went into furniture in times gone by. I like the weird and wonderful and I like to think I have a sense of fun about me, which reflects in the items I buy.’

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