‘GO for it!’ That’s the opinion of a shop owner who took the plunge and opened a store on the high street.

Gwilym Wyn Roberts used to be a senior lecturer at Cardiff University, but, during lockdown, his mother, who had dementia, was cared for in a nursing home and the family decided to sell the family home and empty the house - discovering mother’s incredible collection of antiques, in addition to the fantastic art deco items inherited by her mother, Mr Roberts’ grandmother.

Now, it’s a tricky question to decide what to do with a family member’s items – there might not be enough space to store it, and much of it might not be useful to the family anymore, so Mr Roberts came up with the idea of opening Gil’s Emporium on Glebe Street in Penarth, and he says it's been fantastic.

Despite mixed reports on the high street, including the potential demise of Wilkos as well as the rapidly changing face of Windsor Road, it might seem risky to dip one’s toes into the shop trading business at the moment, however Mr Roberts says it’s been great.

“It’s been exceptional,” said Mr Roberts. “It has been a busy month and the art deco stuff is flying off the shelves.”

Mr Roberts opened Gwil’s Emporium on July 1, getting a space off LilyPad Florist and renting it with a three month break clause.

When you walk inside Gwil’s it’s like walking into a time capsule, or the Tardis! Vintage 1920s music plays from an old Bakelite and there’s everything from tea sets to a doll's house on display!

Barry And District News: Gwilym Roberts, confident in the high streetGwilym Roberts, confident in the high street (Image: Newsquest)

Barry And District News: Gwil's opened on July 1Gwil's opened on July 1 (Image: Newsquest)

Penarth’s high street is changing fast, with Penarthians having seen a flea market open, a new charity store take over the old Shaws Drapers, two new travel agents, a butchers reopening, and a café closing.

Despite the uncertainty on the high street, Mr Roberts, who is originally from Llanberis in North Wales, is confident in the customer base in town.

“The local community has been amazing,” said Mr Roberts. “In Penarth there is a community loyal to the high street and a lot of people want to support independent shops.”

Barry And District News: Mr Roberts, delighted at the community's response to the new shopMr Roberts, delighted at the community's response to the new shop (Image: Newsquest)

Barry And District News: Antique shop full of wondersAntique shop full of wonders (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Roberts is also surprised at Penarth being a gateway to the world…

“I am shocked how many overseas visitors are in town,” continued Mr Roberts.

“I have sold stuff to India, China, New Zealand Australia, Oregan and Chicago.”

Barry And District News: A lot of it is Mr Robert's mothers'A lot of it is Mr Robert's mothers' (Image: Newsquest)

Barry And District News: On Glebe Street, next to Lilypad Florist On Glebe Street, next to Lilypad Florist (Image: Newsquest)

With the end of M&Co, rising energy bills for restaurants and the threats to Wilkos, the crucial question to ask Mr Roberts was, is it worth a venture on the high street?

“Absolutely. Go for it! Be quirky. Be different!”

Gwil’s Emporium is open six days a week, Monday to Saturday, roughly 10am to 4pm.