Washington couple turn former library into vibrant new business

Wayne and Kelly Kennedy used help from Gordon Brown Law to transform the library into a tea room, florist and arts and crafts venture.

(From L-R) The Green's Kelly and Wayne Kennedy with Gordon Brown Law Firm solicitor Gwen Jones
(From L-R) The Green's Kelly and Wayne Kennedy with Gordon Brown Law Firm solicitor Gwen Jones

BRINGING a closed local library back into use has been the icing on the cake for a Washington couple, who have transformed the building into an exciting new business.

Wayne and Kelly Kennedy have opened The Green, a tea room, florist and arts and crafts shop in the property left standing empty when the library was closed on Washington’s village green.

With help from the commercial property team at Gordon Brown Law Firm, the couple secured early occupation of the property, three months ahead of the sale, giving them time to be on site and begin their sympathetic transformation of the Green Library, which has been unused for over two years.

The Kennedys’ business model is based around locally sourced produce, from regional drinks to ingredients used in its cakes and pastries, made by local bake-from-home suppliers, and the artist and crafters’ community whose items are stocked in the gift shop.

The couple also lease out the first floor to a salon and barber shop The First Floor Hair Studio.

Kelly Kennedy, who runs The Green, said: “We decided to use Gordon Brown Law Firm based on their reputation as experts in the area of small business.

“I can’t thank them enough for their consistent support and friendly manner throughout. We are really grateful to Gwen for her expert and honest advice which enabled us to understand how to get the very best out of the property.”

Gwen Jones, solicitor at Gordon Brown, said: “The Kennedys approached us after seeing the old library come up for sale.

“Being local, they understand the importance of keeping prominent buildings such as this alive – they are often part of the fabric of life within communities.

“We assisted with negotiations between them and the council to secure a licence to occupy and to carry out works in December, with the new premises officially opening earlier this year.

“It’s been great working with Kelly and Wayne on this project. Not only are they breathing life back into a building of real significance locally, they also epitomise the region’s energetic and hardworking SME community. I’m sure they are going to make it a big success.”

Mrs Kennedy added: “We appreciate it will take time to establish ourselves, however we are confident the demand is there for what we think is a unique offering and we already have our regulars, which is a great place to be.

“The surrounding community has been hugely supportive and we’re really excited about what the future holds for the business.”

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