Margate is undergoing a cultural and economic renaissance and almost immediately after visiting last year we decided to relocate. We were excited by the possibilities, energy and the architecture - particularly in Cliftonville, an area to the east of the town centre.
There seemed to us a big gap in the local market for a coffee shop and yoga studio, as this was something we looked for as residents we figured others would too.
We started looking for vacant shops, viewed a few and found a lovely small space in the heart of Cliftonville, only for it to fall through. Then one day by chance we wandered into this magnificent place across the road and the Cliffs community spcae idea was born.
As the space was generous we decided to include a secondhand record shop as this is another interest we have - and after chatting to a hair-stylist friend we realised we also had space for a salon!
Cliftonville as a community is changing fast - lots of new families and younger residents - and we think Cliffs could be a great addition to the area and provide useful amenities.
The space we have found has incredible potential to offer so much more to the community than it currently does. Creating a few local jobs at Cliffs is also part of our long-term goal. We are sourcing local farmers for milk and local bakeries for cakes and pastries. Cliffs could become a true hub of local activity and enterprise.
We fell in love with this neglected building the first time we walked in - even though the work it needed was beyond our start-up budget. The space was ideal for our project plans and we saw huge potential if we could find some extra funds on top of our savings to afford the renovation costs...
This is where you come in!
The three-storey, 420 sq metre/4,500 sq ft building needs some fundamental work - replacement windows, various repairs due to vandalism and general neglect - as well new heating/lighting/electrics/plumbing........ the list goes on.
On the ground floor we plan to house the coffee bar and seating areas with the secondhand record shop. There is an awning and space at the front for seasonal outdoor seating too.
On the upper floor the hair salon "Stirling" will be at the top of the stairs (once we open up the big bay windows and bring in the natural light). At the front there will be more of a lounge-feel with more records, listening stations and further seating, with potential for gallery/exhibition space.
The basement (approximately the full length and width of the building) is in the worst state of dilapidation. This is where the yoga will happen - as well as other community and commercial activities which need a nice big private space.
We eventually plan to open a kitchen and serve food, and hopefully secure a licence for evening events - but we'll work up to this once we're off the ground. It's the initial overall work we need to finance, and we hope this is something you can help us with.
Risks and challenges
The shop needs to pass the usual local authority checks to be licensed as a new business, however it has been trading as a commercial retail space for years so there is no change of use. It is obviously in a bad state of repair so that is where our challenges lie - however we are a couple of designers with experience in commercial projects, with a lot of handy friends!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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