THE BOURNEMOUTH branch of popular antiques and retro emporium Molly’s Den has been saved from closure.

The premises - in a small industrial unit off Francis Road - will be re-named The Den and run by partners James Irvine and Megan Noble who work in the interiors and antiques trade and had their own stand at Molly’s Den.

The young couple, who own On The Green interiors in Ashley Cross, decided to rescue the troubled enterprise after administrators moved in last week. The move means that the Molly’s Den stores in Christchurch and Winchester remain closed, although James and Megan are planning their Bournemouth re-opening as a separate business next week on July 18.

Yesterday they were at The Den, talking to many of the 120 traders who feared they could lose everything after administrators closed the store last Tuesday whilst customers were still browsing. They also sacked the staff on the spot but now the team has been re-engaged by James and Megan.

Manager Steve Tydeman said: “We were totally shocked but because we have such a close-knit staff we were saying ‘we have to save this’.” He says staff are delighted to see the business come back ‘in-house’.

Megan said she had found the staff and their dedication ‘amazing’ and had wanted to rescue the enterprise. “It’s a real community hub up here, it’s well known and helps so many small businesses,” she said. “So many people have got started here in this building and many are like us and gone on to bigger things.

“So far only one trader has taken the option to leave and we have several new ones coming,” she said. Traders have been able to use their last month’s already-paid rent as their deposit for the new Den.

One of the delighted stallholders is also the BCP councillor for the Bearwood and Merley area, David Brown. He trades as Back to the Eighties, selling memorabilia from that era. “I was gutted to hear it could close,” he said. “When I saw the message that Megan and James were trying to sort it out and keep going I was really pleased.”

He said The Den had a strong following and receives many specialist customers.

“People have come here from the national TV and Radio Museum to buy items.”