BYGONE Times in Eccleston is bucking the national trend and embarking on a major expansion.
The centre sells antiques, collectables and nostalgia and has witnessed a dramatic upturn in business over the last two years.
Bosses at Bygone Times say people are increasingly investing in antique because the interest rates on their savings are so low.
The converted 18th century mill is lat bursting point because of the number of traders it attracts so a second floor is currently being installed.
Managers say the extra space will enable them to meet demand from retailers.
Emma Outram, the new business manager at Bygone Times, said: “Since the recession hit around two years ago we have seen a massive upturn in people wanting to rent space and develop their own business.
“This could be to subsidise their existing income or to embark upon a completely new venture due to unemployment or redundancy.
“For the first time in many years Bygone Times has now reached full occupancy with a waiting list of potential tenants chomping at the bit to move in.”
She said this was the driving force behind the expansion.
“It was around six months ago that I felt the need to approach the management to request an expansion of floor space to rent within the mill, as the whole of the centre was full to capacity,” said Muss Outram.
“The management decided that a mezzanine floor would be built directly above the old cobbled alleyway – which is the original 18th century roadway to the mill owner’s house known as Millbrook house.
“The expansion has already created a lot of interest and will officially open for business if all works go to schedule around the end of July 2011.”
Sales manager Billy Town said that the latest footfall figures were up 20 per cent on the performance in 2010.
He added: “Sadly there are not many businesses that boast good trading figures in these challenging and uncertain times.
“We used to have quieter days in the early part of the week, but not anymore.
“I think people are hunting for great value more than ever before, perhaps because they haven’t got as much disposable income to play with.
“Hard times have also seen quite a resurgence in 1960s and 1970s style.
“People seem to be putting what little money they have spare into collectables, it’s probably a better investment than putting it in the bank at the moment.
“The centre has also seen a marked increase on sales of silver, retro ceramics and glasswares and quality pottery.”
Visit www.bygonetimes.co.uk for opening times and progress on the new floor build.