A KINGTON hardware store swapped its mallets for mochas and is now thriving as Border Bean, a new coffee shop made possible by a grant to revive old meetings.

Beccy Haydon and Kathy Thompson bought the former hardware store – a High Street shop that had served the local community for more than 50 years before falling on hard times.

And with the help of a £12,000 grant from the Local Enterprise Partnership, they stripped back and refitted the whole site.

Three months after opening they have a thriving business, and the town has eight new jobs.

“We’re delighted,” said Beccy.

“In just three months we’ve created a social hub for the town and becoming a meeting place for groups both young and old.”

However it was a long road to this point; around six months was spent stripping out the old building before it could be wired, its floors replaced and a kitchen installed.

The large windows – which Beccy and Kathy said they always envisioned people sitting at when they bought the property – were also in need of repair.

And amongst the dust and dated electrics, the building held one surprise for its new owners; behind a sheet of ply board they found a range from the 1800s, made in Leominster.

Kathy said: “We were faced with a significant project and the grant allowed us the freedom to ensure we completed the project to a high standard.

“We believe the building now has the potential, with proper care and attention, to be a useful space for at least another 50 years.”

Redundant Buildings Grants are available for up to 30 percent of a projects cost and the Border Bean’s grant is among more than £2.9m handed out since 2003 in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire.

As well as saving buildings, that money is estimated to have safeguarded 845 jobs over that time.

Graham Wynn, chairman of the Marches LEP, said: “A business which has suffered decline over a number of years can become a sad sight on any high street.

“Border Bean has brought a new vibrancy to the High Street in Kington, whilst also creating eight part-time jobs and providing four local teenagers with Saturday jobs.

“It demonstrates the value of the scheme. “

To find out more about the Redundant Buildings Grant scheme contact Caroline Cattle, Redundant Building Grant Manager, on 01432 260662 or at ccattle@herefordshire.gov.uk .