As reported last month, plans have been submitted to convert a vacant bank on the corner of Grove Street and Hawthorn Lane into two retail units on the ground floor with offices above.
Wilmslow resident Darren Smith recently purchased the former RBS building on Grove Street and has confirmed that one of the retail units will opening as the first Simply Argan store - a business which he cofounded in 2010 and has, until now, just traded online selling organic argan oil sourced from Morocco.
In August 2010 Darren was asked by a friend to bring back some argan oil from his holiday to Marrakesh as it was difficult, at the time, to source in the UK. Whilst on holiday Darren's wife Jane, was bitten by mosquitoes and the bites had blistered badly. Locals suggested using argan oil to treat the bites and, to Jane and Darren's surprise, the oil seemed to work extremely well at healing the bites within a few days.
On his return to the UK, Darren gave gifts of argan oil to friends and family and was soon being asked where it could be purchased in the UK.
Darren is a barrister, a qualified stockbroker and a chartered accountant and had worked in finance all of his life so the beauty and cosmetics sector was completely unknown territory for his skill set. Notwithstanding this, he was so impressed with the oil himself, and from the glowing reports off people who he had given the oil to, that he was certain he was onto something so Simply Argan was born. After over a year in the research and development stage Simply Argan finally began to trade in February 2012, selling exclusively online.
At the beginning of the year 43-year-old Darren put his money where his mouth is and took over as full time managing director of Simply Argan, ceasing to work in the finance sector, and towards the end of 2016 the first Simply Argan retail shop will open on Grove Street.
The store will initially be managed by Amanda Cooper, a beauty expert from Alderley Edge who heads up product development at Simply Argan.
Darren Smith told wilmslow.co.uk "This is to be a pilot store and if successful we intend to roll the concept out across the UK, initially concentrating on Cheshire and the North.
"We chose Wilmslow as the town has good demographics for the type of high end beauty and cosmetics products we are selling and obviously it is convenient for both Amanda and myself."
He added "We are awaiting planning to install a completely new glass shopfront to set off the building. However, we are having a pre-opening from 14 November to Christmas with the current shop frontage. We will then close in the New Year and install the new shop front when planning is obtained; which we are confident, our agent having spoken with the planning department, will not be an issue."
Quite a bit of work has already been carried out to convert the basement into a lab where they will formulate future products, inlcuding the installation of a walk in refrigeration room for the storage of argan oil and essential oils.
Darren explained "This is another reason why Wilmslow was a good choice for us as the building was ideal for our purposes, meaning we could have all our operations - offices, lab, online and now retail - under one roof.
The other retail until will be leased to a third party and then the remainder of the building will comprise of around 10 serviced offices which will be accessed from the side entrance on Hawthorn Lane and will be named Grove One Business Centre.
The plans can be viewed on the Cheshire East Council website by searching for planning reference 16/4664M. The deadline for submitting comments is 26th October and a decision is expected by 21st November.