OWNERS of a popular shop marked two decades of ownership with a fashion show.

The Gift Room - based at the The Wine Centre in Great Horkesley - showed off their ranges in the catwalk event at the Stoke by Nayland Hotel.

Customers were also given the chance to model the autumn items, while guests enjoyed a glass of fizz, Colchester-produced Jumbo Gin, makeovers and a goody bag.

The store specialises in contemporary fashion with new items arriving each week.

This year will be the 20th anniversary of the Wine Centre overall being under the ownership of the Borges family.

Since then they have created a deli for foods to accompany their wines and created a fashion element in the property.


Anthony Borges said: “We are celebrating our 20th year under current management, making the shop 56 years a wine merchant.

"Some of our older customers will remember the shop back then, freshly painted a burgundy colour in the summer of 1963, the new sign above the door “Peatling & Cawdron Wine Merchants”, later re-branded “Thomas Peatling Fine Wines”

"Owned by local brewery Greene King, it was managed by husband and wife team Brian and Maudi Hardwick.

"Brian had been a good friend of my father; and having expressed an interest in learning about wine as a young man I am guessing my old man persuaded him to take me on as an apprentice.

"I still have a photo of the old team outside the shop in 1980 with me, as I looked then, thin as a stick with Rod Stewart-like sticky-up hair.

"Brian and Maudi finally retired when I bought the premises and business in April 1999.

"In 2005 I married Janet who had been operations director at Colchester`s Williams and Griffin department store.

"Unlike me she really did have an idea or two about fashion, and it wasn't long before we annexed The Wine Centre with what we have called The Gift Room, selling women`s fashion, handbags and jewellery.

"The deli came about after a trip to New Zealand, having been inspired by the wine-deli retailers there.

"It involved a major refurbishment at the time, but happily the investment turned out to be a good one. It was the food element, together with wine, which led to our hamper business, and ultimately to our events which have become the cornerstone of our business.

"Our wine-tasting dinners have proven especially popular with local - I can hardly believe it has been 20 years.”