Minnis Bay couple’s ‘change of direction’ to open new Birchington Framing Centre and Gallery

Paul and Lorrain Edwards

A Minnis Bay couple have expanded their home-based business by opening up a shop in Birchington.

Paul and Lorrain Edwards began their picture framing venture 18 months ago but it became so popular that they had to use part of their garage when they ran out of room in the house.

Now they have decided its time to bring their business to the high street by taking over the former Daisybuds fabric shop premises in Station Approach and opening Birchington Framing Centre and Gallery.

Paul, 56, has also made the decision to quit his gas engineering business to concentrate on his love of creative woodwork full-time.

Eastcliff surgery practice nurse Lorrain has also reduced her hours so she can help man the store.

Lorrain, 57, said: “ We started about 18 months ago and Paul was still running his gas engineer business , but we wanted to have a change of direction, something we could do together.

“Paul has always been very creative, loves working with wood and used to picture frame as a hobby. We soon realised that if we wanted to expand the business we needed a high street presence and Paul had to concentrate on framing full time.

“This little shop came up which had been empty for a month or so and it was such a good deal we went for it.”

The business frames everything from watercolours, oils or prints on canvas, to photos, prints, tapestries, cross stitch, medals and even seashells. The shop also has display space for local artists to show and sell their work. The space is rent free with a commission on sales.

Lorrain said: “We really wanted to give space for local artists, giving amateur artists a chance to get their stuff out into the community. There is quite a mix with locally known artists such as Mel Chennell (photography)  and Angela Malone from Westgate.”

The framing centre and gallery opened on Easter Saturday and the couple say they have had a positive response.

Lorrain said: “It is coming along quite nicely. It is completely different to what Paul was doing before but we have been very busy and the residents have been fantastic.

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“I have always wanted to open a shop so I am quite happy. I love people coming in and having a chat, everyone in Birchington is so friendly.”

Find Birchington Framing Centre and Gallery at 24 Station Approach Road or on facebook here.