A FORMER pub in Gosport has been given a new lease of life after two new independent traders set up business there.
Two empty units at the entrance to the town’s High Street have been transformed by the move.
One is a vintage furniture shop called Stuff and the other is a handbag shop called Handbags and Gladrags.
The shops, at the site of the former Yachtsman pub, both opened last week.
Julie Hampton, who runs Handbags and Gladrags, said: ‘I have wanted to have my own shop for the last 10 years so to be here now is lovely.
‘Gosport desperately needs new shops and I’m hoping to be here a long time.
‘Lots of people have been coming in and saying how nice it is to see more independent traders in High Street.
‘I have lived in Gosport all my life and have always been involved in retail and Gosport needs these kinds of shops.’
Next door to Julie’s shop, a vintage and antique furniture store has taken over the main part of the building where the Yachtsman used to be.
Julie added: ‘People have been quite surprised to see two shops opening at the same time.
‘It’s made a bit more of a good impression of how things are going and the response we have had has been great.
‘This is what the high street needs.’
As reported in The News, Gosport now has a lower than average number of empty shops in its town centre.
It lost out recently in the first round of bids to become a Mary Portas pilot town, which would have seen it given special powers to encourage new businesses to start up there. But a second round of winners will be announced later this year.
Gosport Borough Council is in the process of forming a town team for the area.
Residents, shopkeepers and landlords were invited to join the group which will help decide what to do with the town centre.
They will also help choose how the council spends a £100,000 grant given by the government specifically for its high street.