A move and a re-brand is just the tonic for Barbara

WELL-KNOWN Stalybridge retailer Smart Bargains has a new home and a new name.

Barbara Neary has made the short move from 57 to 9 Melbourne Street and has re-branded her shop Dress & Tonic.

The name was derived from the business previously occupying the premises, chemist Allwood Simpson.

Barbara, who has bought the shop, explained: “Buried among the builders’ rubble was the sign for the chemists that I have restored and placed in the shop.

“I also found a lot of bottles for tonics which were mostly alcoholic ones and they, too, are on display.

“Back in the days of my parents and grandparents people used to go to the chemist for a tonic if they were unwell and I wanted to incorporate that into the name.”

Barbara also found a stash of licences the chemist needed to operate – the oldest dating back to 1863.

There was also an old bowl with a tap attached and believes it was used to mix potions. That, too, is on display in the shop.

“It took six months renovating the building and I loved unearthing its history. I am like a sponge wanting to find out even more,” she explained.

She has done much of the refurbishment herself, including laying a new floor, hung doors and done all the re-decorating.

Barbara, who lives in Stalybridge, sells “perfect quality end-of-season high street branded clothes that are past season, but perfect”.

By moving to a shop that is twice the size has enabled Barbara, who set up Smart Bargains three years ago, to expand.

She has introduced underwear and menswear for the first time and the larger shop can accommodate prams and wheelchairs, something that was not possible in her old premises.

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