Old pharmacy becomes new destination for coffee and shopping
Paul Mawditt and Emma Whitton have been interested in collecting, buying and selling antiques for years. But things really took off when, in April 2020, they bought the former pharmacy in Heckington High Street.
It had been run by the Bailey family until being taken over by Lincolnshire Coop which relocated the service across the street.
School product design teacher Emma explained that the premises had been a pharmacy since 1870 and they have all the old ledgers and recipes for medicines dating back to Victorian times.
“We were mainly interested in the history,” Emma said. “The man on the old photo on our website is Mr Sumner, the first chemist based here – it was a father and son business.”
They have moved into the seven bedroom house linked to the shop and since opening Good Finds in December 2020, they have gradually opened up more and more of the premises to customers, selling their range of antiques, reproduction and upcycled pieces.
It extends all the way back to the village bowling green with three quarters of an acre of curiosity-filled garden.
It is also stocked full of ironwork and stoneware ornaments by J & L Stoneware of Sleaford, as well as being an outdoor seating area for the coffee lounge which opened in October 2022 in the old pharmacy store room. The room remains complete with hooks where useful medicinal herbs would have been dried.
Things have really taken off. The coffee lounge sells hot and cold drinks, cakes and savoury snacks and is attracting interest for craft working demonstrations and even local businesses hiring it as a venue for team building events.
All the furniture and decor in the coffee lounge is still for sale, so Emma says that each time customers return there is a turn over of furnishings to relax in and capture the imagination.
“It is somewhere you can bring your friends and sit outside in the warmer months, although we are looking at offering blankets and patio heaters,” she said.
People are travelling from Grantham, Boston, Lincoln and Market Rasen as word of mouth spreads.
“People often say they cannot describe how it looks, just go and see for yourself,” added Paul.
They also offer takeaway drinks and cakes.
Now, if you push open a secret door in the passageway and head up the stairs, you will discover their latest project, to expand the coffee lounge upstairs.
It will be complete with a baby grand piano which Paul has been reassembling, a wall of frames and a wall of gentleman’s leather luggage – from hat boxes to gun cases and trunks to flask cases - which he has collected.
There is also a ‘time capsule’ wall of original old medicine bottles balanced on shelves from its past life as a store room, to be preserved behind a screen as a talking point for visitors, complete with years of dust. There is even an earthernware demi-john marked ‘poison’ kept within a wooden box.
Paul said: “Everything will still be for sale except the old stock from the pharmacy. It helps to be ever-changing.”
Emma said: “Paul has always been interested in antiques and that ended up filling our house, so we decided why not look for a shop to open and we stumbled on this place. It took two years to buy it because of the Covid pandemic.”
Paul, a retired product and interior design teacher, as well as being a trained joiner and carpenter, said the shop project has been his “therapy” being able to meet and interact with people. He said: “I have always been interested in buying and selling antiques and going to salvage yards.
“I appreciate the manufacture of products and the skills and craft involved, but also the story behind the object.”
Getting into it seriously 15 years ago, he concedes that their timing could not be better on the strength of such TV shows as The Repair Shop and Salvage Hunters.
Paul said you really have to do the leg work to collect the right pieces of stock to suit their customers, building up a network of contacts and sometimes travelling 200 miles for one item. “We buy from traders in Belgium, France and Hollands and mix it up with traditional English stock.
“Gone are the days of traditional antiques shops.
“Generally it does not matter about the age. It has to have the right look and appeal to the buyer and we will both buy for specific regular customers.”
They even have friends bringing back items from Asian markets too.
Good Finds also has links with local craftspeople supplying things that suit the shop.
They also use bigger Lincolnshire businesses such as Freckleface of Bourne, while most of their food comes from local suppliers such as Corner Farm of Helpringham for their sausage rolls and pork pies and Tilly’s tearoom of Metheringham for home made cakes.
“For some it has become the hub of the community,” said Emma.
“And we are always open to suggestions,” she added.