A BEXHILL business dealing in the past and the unusual has been shortlisted for the title of Britain’s Best Antiques Shop.
Eras of Style occupies the former Bexhill West railway station, built in Edwardian times and once the terminus for a branch line running through to Crowhurst.
It was set up some 18 months ago by Andrew and Christine Towle, who for 15 years previously traded in Normans Road, St Leonards.
Andrew said: “The title is awarded on the basis of nominations from readers of Home & Antiques magazine, in conjunction with Antiques News and Fairs.
“To have found ourselves among the 25 finalists has been a real boost to what we’re all about, and what we’re aiming to do here.
“The old station booking hall, waiting rooms and offices are a perfect setting for our merchandise, there’s plenty of parking and we also have a vintage coffee shop which is popular with both visitors and locals alike.”
Andrew said that one innovation now being pursued is to create a small row of indoor shops selling local produce. It will include an artisan baker’s and add another string to an already fascinating bow.
The Towles pride themselves on an unusual mix of both traditional and off-beat items that Christine said draws clients from far and wide.
Old fairground and cinema paraphernalia ranges alongside antique furniture, chandeliers, leather suitcases, paintings and glass cabinets that once saw service in clothes and shoe shops.
There are also armoires, enamel advertising signs, vintage mannequins, club chairs ... the list is endless.
Items are sourced from both Britain and abroad, and form a constantly changing display that has previously attracted interest from television programmes such as Antiques Road Trip and BBC2’s Put Your Money ... hosted by James Braxton.
Voting for Eras of Style to become the 2013 Antiques Shop of the Year can be done by simply logging on to: www.homesandantiques.com
Anyone casting a vote in the competition is eligible to win a two-night stay worth £600 at the fashionable Draycott Hotel in Chelsea.
Andrew said: “We’re hoping plenty of people will support us. Voting closes on February 28 and we’ll find out how we’ve done when the winner is announced in London on April 25.”