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Kentish Town estate agent reveals plans for Blustons takeover

PUBLISHED: 14:23 02 April 2015

 Blustons of Kentish Town is  closing after 80 years

Blustons of Kentish Town is closing after 80 years

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A Kentish Town estate agent has revealed his plans for the future of Blustons having secured a lease on the property.

Gavin Juniper at Housepresso estate agent and property cafe, Kentish TownGavin Juniper at Housepresso estate agent and property cafe, Kentish Town

Gavin Juniper, a partner at estate agent and coffee bar Housepresso and a Kentish Town resident said that he intends to keep running the shop as an independent retailer, with a focus on clothing.

He said: “In essence we’ll probably keep it the same. To start with we’re going to offer concessions to people so we can get it open quickly but the long term plan is to run it as a cooperative.

“Basically we wanted it to stay as a clothes shop and I looked at my bank account and thought ‘I could just about do this’. I wanted to put my money where my mouth was – although my mouth’s bigger than my pocket, definitely.”

These words, in the same week that it was announced that Foxtons will not be moving into the former Auntie Annie’s premises, will come as a relief to residents worried that their high street is becoming saturated with chain stores, estate agents and coffee shops.

Housepresso will continue at its current premises, although Mr Juniper and co-founder Amon Amouzandeh are discussing new ways of operating the hybrid venture in future.

Blustons opened in 1931 and has been run by the same family for 84 years. The current owner, Michael Albert, is the third generation to run the shop and started working there when he left school at 16.

He is retiring and the shop closed its doors on its current incarnation for the last time yesterday.

Mr Juniper said: “We’ve agreed to lease the shop from Mr Albert through his agent.

“We’re going to keep the name Blustons with his permission, which is great, especially because the frontage is grade-II listed, so we won’t have to do any double branding. We’ll probably even keep the phone number if we can.”

“I think there’s a real mood at the moment with the election coming up where people are just wondering why everything has to keep changing all the time. I’m not a total nimby, I’m up for change, but sometimes it’s good to work with what you’ve got.”

Juniper hopes to have the shop up and running by the summer, with concessions selling everything from retro children’s clothing to feathered hats, homewares and artworks, made by designers with strong local links.

“We’re going to try and keep it ‘Kentish’ and keep the concessions to people who either live here or do stuff here, local people that make really nice stuff.

“The idea with the concessions is we cover all the rates and insurance and allow people to open a shop in a shop that does a tenth of the publicity for them.

“We’re doing this with a kind of love and we’ve had so much good will from people.”

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