The Arc opens its doors following lockdown transformation

The Arc
Gemma outside her shop, The Arc

The Art Centre and Gallery has undergone a lockdown transformation and this week reopened as The Arc.

Run by Gemma Crawley-Roberts, the Howard Street store still stocks many familiar products, including art supplies, cards and gifts, but now with added homewares, hand-picked vintage and home décor.

The newly renovated store shares the space with The Gallery, the established café and home to Companions Bakery.  The Gallery is run by Gemma’s brother, Simon, and Gemma says she is actively encouraging customers to grab a coffee to enjoy while they browse the store.

“We’re thrilled to finally welcome customers into the Arc,” said Gemma, a former creative director who has moved back to Bedford from London with her husband and two children.

“We’ve completely refurbished the space and made it feel much larger, which allows people to safely browse while social distancing.

“We’ve introduced new products including homewares, kids’ interiors and some gorgeous vintage pieces, alongside the established art supplies, cards and fine art sales.

“Framing is still a big part of the business, and some of our first customers were people who’ve been waiting all of lockdown to have their things framed.”


One new area of the shop is ‘Kids’ Corner’. Gemma and the Arc’s talented and creative all-female team will be running craft activities, workshops and drop-in sessions for kids (and their families) once lockdown restrictions are eased.

“We’d love families to pop into town, drop their kids at the Arc for a craft session while their parents enjoy a peaceful coffee at the Gallery,” said Gemma.

“We’re excited to join Bedford’s thriving indie retail scene and look forward to welcoming customers old and new to the store.”

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