Start-up retailers and online traders have been given a chance to get a taste of the high street with a pioneering scheme in Poulton.
Pop-up Britain, the retail arm of Start-up Britain, has opened its first pop-up shop in the north of England in the Teanlowe Centre.
Previously the pop-ups have been set up in Chelsea on the King’s Road, Camberley in Surrey and Chard in Somerset, but now the scheme has teamed up with Wyre Council and Booths to revitalise a previously empty shop in the market town.
The pop-up shop will run for six weeks and every two weeks new retailers will take the space. It has the capacity to house between five and six local start-ups, co-working and co-funding the space at a cost of just £50 each.
The store is part of Wyre’s regeneration plans for the area and it is hoped the shop will also help ‘talent spot’ local businesses with high street ambitions.
Council leader Coun Peter Gibson said: “We are delighted to open this pop-up shop here. It is a brilliant initiative with wins all the way down the line – it brings into use an empty unit, enhances the retail offer for shoppers and allows traders to give their products some exposure on the high street.”
Elizabeth Slee, from Start-Up Britain, the private sector initiative launched By David Cameron, said: “Our pop-ups have been gong really well so far. It allows traders to have a presence on the high street without the long term and sometimes costly commitment of renting a shop. They can meet their customers and get support from each other.”
She added that it could be a model for towns in the future to make use of empty retail space by sharing it between a handful of traders.
Joanne Jones, who runs Pretty in Punk, creating bespoke knitwear and jumpers in the classic Dennis the Menace style, said: “I love it, it’s giving people like me who can’t afford to rent a shop the opportunity to have a presence on the high street.
“It lets customers put a face to the products. I talk to clients online but it’s not the same as talking face to face and this allows me to have a chat with customers – a bit of personal interaction.”
Lauren Riley, from Fleetwood, used to have her own shop in the market hall but gave it up and became an on line business. She said: “The online side became self sufficient and then I got a job and just do this as a side line now.
“Online is great but there is no personal touch and it can be a bit lonely especially when you are a sole trader.”
“I love this idea. It gives you a chance to meet the customers without the long term commitment of having to rent a shop.”
Lytham photographer Sarah Galasko was showing off her range of prints, greetings cards and post cards under her Lucky Star Design banner. She said: “I came here with my husband who works at the hospital and found there were lots of portrait photographers so I looked for something ese and was inspired by the seaside and the hidden gems Blackpool has to offer.
“Pop-up Poulton is great because although I have done craft fairs and markets I have a lot of products and this gives me a more permanent base to show everything. The idea of having a turnover of stalls is great because that will inspire footfall. People will bother to come back to see what else is on offer. I trade online but this allows me to get to see what people are interesting in, what sells and how much to price things for.”