Axminster “institution” has a new man at the helm as couple decide to take things a little easier

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A new chapter has begun for one of Axminster’s oldest established shops this week.

Archway Bookshop has a new face behind the counter after being run by Chris and Bee Painton for the past eight years.

They have given up the business to concentrate on their other store – Serendip Fine books, in Lyme Regis.

Mr Painton said that after running both shops for the past two years they had come to a point in their lives when it was time to take things a little easier.

“We thought it was time to reduce our workload a bit,” he told The Herald. “We are looking forward to having a wee bit more time at home.”

Archway’s new boss is Tim Pritchard, of Musbury, who took over on Monday.

He has experience of book shops having worked at Serendip for several years following a move from London to Lyme Regis just over a decade ago.

Later he set up Town Mill Framing, in Lyme, which he ran for five years, selling it as a going concern early in 2012, after which he moved to his current home in East Devon.

He said: “I had got to know Chris and Bee fairly well and they asked me to manage Archway for them when they took holidays several times in 2012.

“I realised during those periods in the shop just how much I missed the book trade, and so was very excited when the opportunity came up to take over the reins.

“Archway first opened its doors in 1966, which makes me feel I’m taking on something of a local institution. During their time here Chris and Bee have worked hard to make the shop a real asset to the town, and I plan to continue in the same vein, offering an extensive range that only an independent bookshop can provide, and next day ordering service for anything not on our shelves.

“Beside me will be regulars Rosemary, Liz and Jane offering the same great service that customers have become used to.”

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