Swap Watch, which buys and sells high-end luxury watches, wants to move in to 2 North Bar Within in time for February next year – once the Grade II Listed building has undergone a £100,000 makeover.

The mid-terraced premises, which was built midway through the 17th century and forms part of the town’s Georgian quarter, has been snapped up by Beverley resident Rob Ford and his business partner John Traynor after being marketed for offers in excess of £195,000 by PPH Commercial.

Sitting in a prominent position at the junction of Lairgate, North Bar Within and the exit to Saturday Market, the grand opening will represent a return to the place where it all began for Mr Ford.

Having grown up in Beverley, the 48-year-old discovered his love for luxury watches when living just 50 metres from the town’s market place as a boy and he’s bought and sold them ever since.

Now, he can’t wait to bring prestigious brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, A. Lange & Sohne, Breguet and Audemars Piguet to the heart of the place he’s proud to call home.

Mr Ford said: “My love for luxury watches first started as a young boy living in Beverley, so I’m thrilled to be able to open my first retail venture here in my hometown all these years later.

“We pride ourselves on always being able to source and supply the right luxury watch for our clients, using contacts from around the world to deliver great price, quality and service.

“It’s an historic old building which requires a lot of work to make sure it’s fit for our requirements, especially from a security point of view. But it’s a project that excites both John and myself and we feel privileged to be able to bring the beautiful old place back to its former glory.”

The much-loved property is probably best known for being the long-term home of Haller, a high-grade supplier of men’s and ladies’ shoes which closed in 2018 having traded in Beverley since 1881.

Sandwiched between Barclays Bank and Beercocks estate agent, the quaint brick-built property extends over four storeys with the two upper floors housing a two-bedroom flat above the ground floor retail area and basement storage.

Having been stripped back to reveal its original oak beams and Georgian features, work will soon begin to beef up security with the installation of high-tech doors, glazing and shutters.

The apartment is also set to undergo a tasteful transformation to bring its interior up to modern living standards before a new tenant is sought.

Matt Penrose, the divisional director who handled the sale for PPH, believes the historic Georgian premises is assured of a bright future.

He said: “Beverley is an extremely busy and popular market town. This quaint and quirky property is ideally suited to a luxury watch shop because it’s close to the main town centre which is represented by many high-end brands and quality independent retailers.

“The opportunity to acquire an historic freehold building like this doesn’t come around very often and I’m sure Rob and John will carry out sympathetic improvements which will enhance its interior and ensure it forms a key part of the Beverley landscape for centuries to come.”

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