Britain’s oldest chandlery business, the Bosun’s Locker in Falmouth, has slipped its mooring for a new berth inland on the town's main shopping street.
The Bosun’s Locker Chandlery business had been situated in an early 18th century building at the Lower end of Upton Slip – one of Falmouth’s famous “Ope’s” - for 75 years.
The business is well known for its reputation of being able to supply almost any item to the marine market, and for the two historic ships figureheads which stand outside the store.
But now the merchandise is being packed up and shipped out, only to drop anchor, not too far down the road, at the former Tribal Maniax shop at 16-17 Church Street.
Alan Parmenter who owns the Bosun’s Locker business with his wife Erica, says the move has been prompted by a combination of events.
Alan says “We love the old building in the Ope, it has a romantic value, but it’s no longer ideal for business.The recent storms have highlighted this even more.
"We’ve been looking for suitable premises on Falmouth’s main shopping street for a while and our landlord has decided to take back the lease at Upton Slip to re-develop the building, so when the unit on Church Street became available we decided to go for it.”
Moving to a new location won’t be the only change for the chandlery. The business is expanding its range of nautical gifts and clothing.
Alan explains “Whilst we are well known for our chandlery items we are constantly asked for genuine, traditional and original clothing. So we’re taking advantage of our more prominent position in Church Street to promote the fact we stock most of the top sailing gear brands as well as other authentic nautical apparel such as Breton tops from France, Guernsey’s from the Channel Islands and ranges such as Saint James.
"Of course we will stick to our roots and remain a fully stocked chandlery and the size of the new premises allows us to do this.
"Being on the town’s main shopping thoroughfare means we’ll get more passing trade from people who’ve moored at the marinas and tourists from the cruise ships.”
The Bosun’s Locker new lease at Church Street was negotiated by Rob Redgrave at Miller Commercial.
Rob says “While it’s sad to see the Bosun’s Locker leave its iconic premises the move makes good business sense.
Their new unit in Church Street was the last shop we had available in Falmouth where demand for retail units is far outstripping supply.
This along with the fact Falmouth’s shopping area has among the lowest vacancy rates in the country, is good news and shows the town is holding its own against the likes of Truro and Padstow.”