A NEW CAFÉ and a vintage goods store have opened at the site of the former Hanbury Arms pub in Abersychan.

Rachel Allen, owner of the Hanbury Arms Café, ran the Pontypool Market Cafe in the Indoor Market for five years, but decided the time was right to expand her business.

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“It’s been a bit daunting and a bit nerve-wracking,” she said. “I’m 41 and this is a new venture for me.

“I’ve run a café in the market for five years and in total I’ve been working at the market for about 11 years – as I took over from my old boss when she retired.

“Because I do a lot of outside catering, like parties and funerals, I wasn’t able to get in to the market at all hours - like I needed - so I decided we needed to expand.

“My mum worked in the Garn Co-op for about 30 years, so it’s a homecoming of sorts.”

Miss Allen said she hoped the café, found on Herbert’s Road, could become a key part of the community on the Garn.

“There’s not a lot here like this for elderly people or for the community – nowhere they can go for Sunday lunch or breakfast,” said Miss Allen.

“We offer everyone a warm welcome, and children under the age of four eat for free.

“We are also helping local schools, offering work experience for a few of the students.”

The café is open from 9am to 4pm from Tuesday to Sunday. On Sundays, breakfast is served until midday, and Sunday lunch must be pre-booked.

Also opening at the former pub site on Tuesday was Quirky Finds, a vintage furniture and goods store.

Owner Natalie Phillips, 60, said: “I’ve been at the market for about one and a half years selling vintage, retro and antique goods.

“There wasn’t a lot of footfall at the market, and a lot of the other traders were moving out and setting up in the town.

“A lot of my customers are from this area, so it’s going to make it easier for them to come in and browse.

“I’m good friends with Rachel, and with my customers living up here, so I thought it made sense.”

The shop is open from 10am to 4pm from Tuesday to Saturday.