'I am so excited': New store owner on his dream come true

Josh Byworth in the doorway of his new independent store, Essential Vintage, in Eagle Street, Ipswich

Josh Byworth has opened a new independent store, Essential Vintage, in Eagle Street, Ipswich - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

One of the businesses at the Ipswich Microshops has moved on - and taken on its own premises in the town.

Essential Vintage, owned by Josh Byworth, 30, had the grand opening on Saturday, May 28, of its new home in Eagle Street. 

"After lots of hard work and many years in the making, it feels really good to finally have my first proper retail shop", said Mr Byworth.

Mr Byworth, who is originally from Colchester, began the vintage clothing business in his sister's old bedroom.

A clothes rail below a black and white 'Camden Town' sign

All items in Essential Vintage are hand-picked by Josh - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

From there, he moved into selling his products at festivals before his business became large enough to expand. 

He initially decided to open a shop in his Essex hometown before the Covid-19 pandemic prevented him from doing so.

He says that disappointment "destroyed him".

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But he persevered and continued his business part-time while working a full-time job as a chef.

Eventually, he saved enough money to move to Ipswich and open a store in Microshops on Carr Street, a collection of small outlets in one unit perfect for small businesses and start-ups before they expand.

He described the concept as "absolutely amazing" and said he learned a lot during his three months there. 

Work is underway for the new Microshops in the former Peacocks premises in Carr Street, Ipswich. Pi

Microshops, found on Carr Street, Carr Street, are a collection of small outlets in one unit perfect for small businesses and start-ups - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Despite hailing from Essex, the business owner has close ties to Ipswich and Suffolk.

"I'm an Ipswich Town supporter so I've been coming to the area since I was a kid. Suffolk is very special to me."

Now in his own retail shop, he said the road to opening has been tiring: "The whole building needed work. There were a lot of long nights and early mornings. But here we are on the opening day. 

"I barely slept last night. It's very exciting."

Looking ahead, Josh would like Essential Vintage to one day host music events,

He said: "In the evenings I'd love to have local bands, get unsigned people's names out there.

It's all about supporting local people and local businesses."

Josh on the left with another employee on the right. Essential Vintage logo on the right with Ipswich Town scarf on left

Josh said he would like his shop to one day host live music - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt, who visited Essential Vintage a day prior to its grand opening, said: "I am delighted to see another example of the Microshops concept working and providing a crucial step for business, which can lead on to bigger things.

"I look forward to supporting another great local start-up on our high street."