The Archway Bookshop started its life in Church Street, Axminster in 1966 and stayed there until November 2021 when we made the short journey to occupy our prime spot in Trinity Square.
Today’s owner, Simon Holmes, admits to feeling “rather sad” about leaving the beautiful old original premises. “It was the epitome of what an independent bookshop should be,” he says. “However, the reality was that it no longer had the space that we need and didn’t allow us to expand as we needed. It was also inaccessible in that the great majority of our non-fiction department lived at the top of a spiral staircase.
Trinity House has more than 200 years of history of its own but had reached a low by the summer of 2019 when the department store that occupied the whole building announced its planned closure due to declining business. With traders across the town fearing the wider knock-on effects of the reduced resulting footfall, Ian Styles of Axminster Property stepped in to buy it. Through the lockdowns of 2020 his team set about a major refurbishment that saw it transformed into a a series of units that were quickly taken by independent businesses.
Archway Bookshop became the fourth piece in the new Trinity House jigsaw with the Lou La Belle boutique, the Crafty Hobbit crafts and gifts shop and the Community Waffle House cafe / restaurant as its neighbours.