One small step for man... One giant leap for Llanberis...
Recently I wrote a piece about life in Llanberis, in which I stated:
"Llanberis looks like any other North Wales village. The Tobermory-bright buildings line the main street, flanked by youths in Adidas tracksuits and hooded tops. Shops come and go as often as the local buses, with many buildings sat empty for months or even years."
I've been keeping an eye on the Llanberis high street developments, so it was with keen interest that I noted the old Spar had be bought and was no longer an empty shop. Building work was occurring at a rapid rate and I soon found out that it was Joe Brown's who had purchased the old mini-market.
"We originally looked at the building when it first came on the market two years ago," explained Paul Casey of Joe Brown's, "but held back from buying it until we had a clear plan for the site."
After standing unoccupied for the last couple of years, it is quite a relief to many local businesses to see the property filled.
"With the current economic situation, we felt the price for the building had become reasonable, plus we conceived a business plan that we were confident would work." continued Paul, "We have gone very specialised with the other shops, concentrating on technical climbing equipment and clothes, so we plan to expand the new building to cover more general outdoor gear, kids and especially footwear."
The shop is a big building and quite an undertaking, but the newly revamped shop-front has already made a positive impact on other businesses and the location means that any visitors looking in to the village from the ever-busy Snowdon railway will no longer see boarded-up windows, but a brightly coloured, well kept shop, which will hopefully encourage them to stroll up the under-used high street.
Joe Brown's are hoping to have the whole building open in spring next year, but have already smartened up the front of the building and opened a small shop inside. Local legendary climber Dai Lampard has been drafted in as chief builder and has set to work. There is a lot more space to fill, and the team have some big plans - watch this space.
The old Spar, as it has been known until now, was one of the two largest unused buildings in Llanberis and many locals are hoping this change in use will be a turning point for the rest of the village. It is certainly a huge step in the right direction.