January 26, 2018
Revamp of Highbridge's former George Hotel on track to finish this year

A major renovation project to give a new lease of life to Highbridge's former George Hotel by turning it into a new furniture store is progressing well.

Matt and Emily Scott, the owners of the former hotel in Church Street, plan to open 'Sopha', a new furniture store in its place later this year.

Matt told "We have been busily working away behind the hoardings for almost 14 months and despite a few delays we are still on track to open this summer, well within the one to two year schedule we set ourselves."

The George Hotel closed back in July 2016 and the couple announced their plans in December of that year, as reported by here.

The building has since been re-roofed and local residents have been watching the start of the restoration to the Georgian frontage of the building.

The scaffolding has slowly been dismantled over the past few months, the last of which was removed earlier this month, with completion of external works due to progress during the spring.

Matt added: "We have put a lot of effort into respecting the history of the building whilst making it fit for a 21st Century furniture store."

"All of the external walls have been insulated to a high standard and the floors of both buildings have been dug down to ensure the new store is fully wheelchair accessible."

"This week we have reached the first-fix stage of the electrical installation within the shop itself. We are now working towards the design of the wall and floor finishes as well as the design of the lighting systems. During spring our concentration will switch to completing the design of our first product range."

The construction work includes a new 3,000 square foot extension as well as full refurbishment of the existing buildings.

Sopha estimate that over 13,000 hours of work has been completed on site to date and there is still a lot to do yet.

"Emily and I are really proud of the progress made to the store so far. We hope it is starting to look like the new gateway store we promised when we started this project."

"We would like to say a massive thank you to all those who have contacted us to voice their support and encouragement so far, along with all the local tradespeople and businesses that have been involved in the project thus far."

Matt & Emily, who are well known both locally and within the furniture industry, say that they look forward to bringing a unique new furniture store to the people of Somerset.

Sopha will specialise in sofas and beds but the couple have teased some other product offerings for around the home.

The couple expect to begin recruitment for positions within the startup business from late spring this year.

The George Hotel is understood to have been built around 1775 as a Coaching Inn.

The former Tattoo Studio has lain empty for a number of years, having previously been a newsagent and is remembered by many locally as the factory shop of the former Highbridge Bacon Factory.


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