Given only 30 days’ notice to leave, the vendors of Castle Emporium on Womanby Street, Cardiff are having to relocate after seven years of housing. They are now faced with having to find an alternative space whilst under the pressure of leading up to Christmas. The real gut-punch is that the building has been signed over to a new development company that will be turning it into a microbrewery instead of this tight-knit community of independent shops.
We spoke to Hannah, co-founder of Heads Above The Waves, a mental health charity whose shop and coffee shop are being forced to relocate from Castle Emporium.
What was your immediate reaction to hearing about the closure?
We were absolutely devastated to find out about the closure. We’d had an inkling that the tenancy might end but we thought that was going to be after January. So to just get a letter out of the blue right before the Christmas period, was really upsetting. We’re still in shock.
And as for the future, what’s going to happen? Have you found a space yet?
We haven’t found anywhere definite yet. It’s been a really difficult process finding the right space for Heads Above The Waves but also one that’s affordable for us. Rent is very high in the town centre but hopefully we’ll be able to get something sorted soon!
On Instagram, Heads Above The Waves also said: “All we can ask is that you continue to support us and the rest of the indies here, pick up some merch or grab a coffee. We’d love to see as many as you as possible before we have to go.”
In a statement announcing the news, Castle Emporium said: “Your support over the next 30 days will mean the world to us. Your help is needed now more than ever so please shop with us, use our services, shout us out! We need all the help we can get to find a new home.”
They have since set up a crowdfunder and the money raised will be split equally between the current traders: Heads Above The Waves, The Sho Gallery, The Barber Room, Tropigaz, Shelflife Books and Frankincense & Purr.
words SARAH BOWDIDGE
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