Fire-damaged newsagents' given fresh lease of life as Halesworth pet store
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
A Halesworth pet store has moved into the premises of a former newsagents' that was rebuilt after being destroyed in a blaze three years ago.
The Feedbarn has relocated just steps away from its Market Place unit to the former home of DC Patrick Newsagents.
The property was left scorched in June 2018 after Stephen Wilson set fire to the flat above the shop after his pregnant girlfriend walked out on him.
Wilson was later jailed for the arson for nine years.
As part of his tenancy agreement, Mr Patrick, whose family had been running their newsagent business at the store for more than 40 years, was responsible for the restoration of the property.
The building, which is believed to be more than 500 years old, had to be revamped to modern safety and design standards.
Insurance covered the majority of the £700,000 required for the project, but Mr Patrick had to contribute some of the funds out of his own pocket.
He said he had sleepless nights over the ordeal and it had caused "a lot of grief and hassle" for his family.
With the rebuild nearing completion, Feedbarn owner Laura Brown has taken over the lease for the property and transformed it into a pet store with a focus on interactivity with customers.
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The extra space the store provides has allowed Miss Brown to set up a chair for customers to take pictures of their pets in as part of what will be a monthly competition.
A dog grooming facility is also set to be installed as part of the owner's vision to create a one-stop place for all pets' needs.
Miss Brown said the move to the former newsagents' has been well-received by her customer base.
She said: "It was an opportunity to have a slightly larger place and be a bit more interactive with customers and their pets.
"It's fantastic to be here. It's so bright, airy and spacious. It's such a nice space to have.
"The customers are really enjoying the interactivity of the store. It's a great space for them to come in and talk about their dogs."