Gift shop expansion follows mentoring

Linda Adams and partner Ian Mallam at La Shack at Cropper Road
Linda Adams and partner Ian Mallam at La Shack at Cropper Road
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A Blackpool gift shop has expanded its premises, two years after Blackpool Council helped it to get started.

La Shack, which is based in The Garden Place on Cropper Road, now boasts nearly four times the floor space to sell its range of gifts, scarves, bags and candles.

Linda Adams began her journey to entrepreneurship by selling crafts and gifts at church hall fairs, and later a market stall in Poulton.

However, thanks to expert support from Blackpool Council’s Get Started service, she learnt the value of product and pricing, as well as communication with customers.

Linda’s gift shop has now expanded its floor space at the garden centre, with a special Santa’s grotto installed for the Christmas season.

As well as improving her own stall, Linda also now networks to gain valuable referrals and grow her business.

An example of how to develop is to embrace challenges that take you outside your comfort zone, and in one case she volunteered to join Blackpool Council’s group last year to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday.

She threw herself into the project and was a huge success as Portia in the Merchant of Venice.

Linda said: “The Get Started team keep in touch offering support and The Shakespeare experience was great fun, and I made lots of friends as well as key business contacts, and am eagerly awaiting the 2016 production of Romeo and Juliet that Get Started is putting on.”

“Building a business can be hairy at times however wonderful customers make it all worthwhile.

“I took part in the pop-up store event in Poulton two years ago for two to three weeks and then got a market stall, but I wanted a bricks and mortar place.

“The name comes from my initials but with a small a and the fact that it is my shack.”

Linda’s success story is just one of 1,000 businesses that have been started up thanks to help from Get Started over the past eight years.

Coun Mark Smith, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member for business and economic development, said: “La Shack is a great example of how we’re helping people to become their own boss.

“The expert advice that those fledgling businesses receive is really helpful and means that they can continue to trade and grow.”