A SUCCESSFUL board game shop in Southend is set to relocate to a prime city centre location as part of an major expansion that will see a new cafe set up.

Bosses say the Board Game Hut, which is located in Hamlet Court Road, will be moving to an empty store in Clarence Street that was previously known as the Knitting and Needlecraft shop.

Owners Russell Neave-Houghting and partner Kelly Barnard announced the relocation after striking a deal with new partners, Duncan and Hazel Popham, who have invested in the business and helped secure the move.

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The team hope to open the new shop before the end of the summer.

Mr Neave-Houghting said: “We are super excited to be moving to the new location, to have more space for the store and events.

“We are still planning it out fully, but we want to do more events and board-game nights, and with the new premise will have the space to do this upstairs.

“We aim to be a fully inclusive safe space where all are welcome and can relax.

“The new location is just off High Street, and visible from it.

“This has been months in the making, and we still have a lot of work to do to get it ready, but we anticipate it potentially being around six to eight weeks.”

The Board Game Hut started as an online business six years ago, before opening as a shop in its current location in Hamlet Court Road in 2019.

With business booming, Mr Neave-Houghting and the team are eyeing up an expansion which will see them pursue plans to open a cage inside the new shop.

He said: “Moving forward there will be a strong emphasis on the board game café route, we are planning a comprehensive menu, and better choices of light snacks and coffees.

“We also hope to be able to get a licence to sell alcohol as well.

“With more space we can have a more established café area, without that interfering with the events we hold upstairs.

“We aim to become a social hub where tabletop games can come and socialise, while meeting new friends in an inclusive environment.”