Community co-operative breathes new life into Whiting Bay store
A small collective of craftspeople and artisans have rescued a Whiting Bay landmark from falling into disuse by opening a co-operative store in the iconic seafront building which used to house Bay News and Gift Shop.
The newly reopened and freshly refurbished building has been resurrected as Bay Wool and Crafts and incorporates Katsock Crafts, Scenes of Arran, The Arran Glass Studio and Granny’s Knits.
The attractively decorated shop, which not only serves as an island wool supplier, also specialises in hand-knitted garments from Linda MacCallum of Granny’s Knits, knitted toys and cushions from Kat Sparshott of Katsock Crafts, photographic art and canvasses from Ste- phen J Sparshott of Scenes of Arran and stained glass and mosaics by Jill Jeffries of the Arran Glass Studio.
In addition to these offerings, Bay Wool and Crafts is a stockist of Arran ice cream which visitors can enjoy, or take home a luxury pudding from LillyPuds, which produces indulgent puddings which come in gluten-free and vegan options too.
Speaking after the grand opening on Monday, which more than 65 people attended, Stephen and Kat said: ‘We are delighted to be seeing the Bay News shop being given a new lease of life.
‘We have to thank Whiting Bay and District Improvements for the warm welcome, along with everyone that has come to wish us well and support us.
‘The welcome from our new neighbours and the public has been remarkable, so too from previous proprietors Bev and Tim Hodkinson.
‘Everyone has been incredibly supportive and helpful, including County Carpets, which made a special effort to get everything looking just-right in such a short time.’
The collective has grand plans for the store which includes renting a small display area out to other craftspeople and a regular Knit and Natter Club on a Thursday where like-minded people can go and share tips and tricks in the company of others.
While collaborating with other similar ventures across the country, the group is also planning various workshops and is looking to get more involved with local events such as coffee mornings and other charitable causes.
Kat and Stephen Sparshott outside their new store in Whiting Bay.
A selection of knitted soft toys are available from Bay Wool and Crafts.