A HISTORIC store in Northwich’s town centre needs a new owner.

Northwich Art Shop on Witton Street could be facing closure, if no one can be found to take it over.

Current owner Phil Bower, 58, took the reins around nine years ago but has decided now is the time to step aside.

He is hopeful that someone else can help see the shop achieve its full potential.

“This is a really big opportunity,” he said.

“It’s a really good, viable business and hopefully it has a full future ahead.

“We have such a creative community in and around Northwich.

“It is a business but it is also a community asset.

“There’s been an art shop in Northwich for more than 40 years and it’s survived through various changes in the world around us.”

Northwich Guardian: Phil says it is shops like his which are keeping the high street alivePhil says it is shops like his which are keeping the high street alive (Image: Supplied)

Phil added that it is shops like his which are keeping the high street alive.

“People are so used to reading that the high street is failing and yes in certain sectors it is struggling,” he said.

“But the high street in terms of specialist retail is holding its own.

“If you take a walk round Northwich you will see there is a lot of specialist independent businesses and it is those businesses that are keeping the high street alive.”

Phil’s career started in retail, working at his father’s store on Market Way in Northwich.

He then worked his way to become commercial director for British Polythene before moving to Somerset, where he and his partner developed a vegan ice cream business.

Around a decade ago they moved back to Cheshire and it was an article in the Northwich Guardian that inspired Phil to take over the art shop.

He went in and spoke to the store’s outgoing owner, Debbie Clowes, who asked him what he knew about running an art shop.

“Absolutely nothing, I told her, but I know a lot about people, customers, community and I’m sure I can learn the bits in the middle,” Phil said.

“It was in a bit of a state when I took over, it didn’t really know who or what it was.

“So when I came in it was an ideal opportunity to completely reface what it was doing and it's kind of gone from strength to strength

“The reason I'm looking to move on, partly, is age. You need to have a degree of enthusiasm, spirit and get-up-and-go and my get-up-and-go kind of got up and went.”

Northwich Guardian: Phil Bower and the team during the Pina Colada FestivalPhil Bower and the team during the Pina Colada Festival (Image: Supplied)

Phil’s lease ends in August, so it is a race against time to find a new owner.

He said: “You see so many businesses that close down because they leave it too late to actually have time to make an opportunity for people.

“I will be desperately sad if come August we close the doors and walk away, I think that would be a tremendous loss.

“Until then we are very much keyed in and still here, at the end of the day I want to sell the business in a good state of repair.”