AN OPTICIANS is taking over the site of a former bank in Horwich.

Justin Kellett Opticians is moving further down Winter Hey Lane to the old premises of Barclays Bank next year.

The site is currently being renovated by Peak Joinery Ltd and should open in January.

Despite a challenging year, the independent opticians has reported steady growth and is ready for the expansion.

Director Justin Kellett said: “We have been here coming up to seven years, obviously as a business you have to start small but we are now making the move the bigger premises and a nice environment.

“It’s about four times the floor space of what we have now, it’s got lots of character and features from its time as a bank, with the original vault.

“We opened in 2014 just a local opticians but we have turned into more of a boutique, stocking frames from Tiffany, Bulgari and Gucci.

“Down the road we will have the space to display it all, we are having bespoke cabinets made by the brands so they are buying into the expansion as well.

“We are hoping to move in by the end of January, obviously we are not sure whether we will be able to have a launch party in Covid times.

“Contractors are in there at the moment and we’ve had the building sympathetically cleaned by stone masons.

“It’s knocked about 40 years off the place, it’s made of sandstone and brick, it was all green and black from the traffic but now it’s golden. It looks a lot better.

“We’re very excited about making the move to the new building, the expansion has been planned for just over the year.

“Although we did have to close for four months during the lockdown, we’ve still done very well this year and none of our patients have disappeared.

“Even with Covid we’ve had eight per cent growth this year.

"I think because we are independent we give people that personalised experience, so they keep coming back.”

Inspiration has been found in the building’s previous use and the opticians is planning to offer a unique experience to patients and customers.

Justin added:”We are hoping to play on the theme of it being a former bank.

“The vault will be home to all the designer frames. We’re hoping to get new names on board too such as Hugo Boss.

“As well as moving to bigger premises, we’re also taking on a new member of staff which is exciting.

“The building is an iconic part of the high street. We’ve already found old coins as we’ve been sweeping up.

“So far we’ve come across an old penny from 1940 and a penny from 1971, the year of decimalisation, so that’s a talking point.”