Trading Boundaries began life nineteen years ago when Michael Clifford, who’s mother was born in India, began importing furniture, handicrafts and textiles from all over India, in addition to running his property development business with Tracy Thomson.
Michael and Tracy set up shop in a small barn in Dormansland, near East Grinstead, opening their doors 1996 for just a few hours a week. They soon expanded and had to install a mezzanine level to accommodate the extra furniture.
Within six months the business had grown further into a second, much larger, barn and the need for an even larger premises was becoming more apparent. Having previously been approached to take on the Sheffield Arms as a development project, Tracy decided the Grade 2* listed building was the perfect location for a beautiful new showroom.
While Tracy stayed in Sussex to refurbish the building, Michael continued to regularly visit India, sourcing and importing for a business that was now nationwide. In 2005, Tracy and Michael purchased the neighboring property, Vigoes Farm (see building history below) and work began to develop the various barns and outbuildings into a quadrangle of shopping boutiques.
The need to provide customers with refreshments was becoming more obvious, the showroom kettle was no longer able to cope and so came The Elephant Café.
With the Café growing in popularity and a stage already in built, live music events began to take place. Boasting fabulous acoustics, a state of the art sound system and a wonderfully atmospheric dining room, The Elephant Café has already played host to some incredible acts.
In the last two years, performances have included; Steve Hackett, Voices Live, Carl Palmer, Martin Turner’s Wishbone Ash, The Jive Aces, Rick Wakeman, John Wetton, Cutting Crew and many, many more. The Café was also voted as one of the top ten live music venues in the country by Prog Rock Magazine.
Last year also saw Trading Boundaries announced as the official UK retail store for legendary artist Roger Dean, responsible for album covers for such iconic bands as Yes and Asia. Trading Boundaries continues to offer unusual products, homeware, furniture and fantastic service in a shopping model fit for the 21st Century.