Start-up and growing independent retailers will get a chance to trial a shop in Swindon town centre for a short period under a new scheme launched today, which helps to overcome one of the biggest barriers to empty shop units being let.
Landlords often ask for a long lease, sometimes for as long as five to 10 years, which businesses don’t always feel confident enough to take on without testing the location first.
The new Swindon scheme will create pop-up shops to offer businesses an opportunity to test a high street location for a number of weeks.
The scheme is designed to appeal in particular to established independent businesses, start-ups or those that have operated so far at markets or trade fairs, or online. Swindon town centre has a relative shortage of shops selling artisan goods and gifts, medium to high-end ladies wear, children’s clothes, menswear, and toys. These sectors will take priority but other types of businesses will also be considered.
The project is a partnership between Swindon Borough Council, town centre management company inSwindon BID Co Ltd, regeneration company Forward Swindon Ltd, and Flashop UK Ltd.
Along with the short-term lease offer, the project will also see independent businesses in neighbouring towns being approached about the possibility of expanding to Swindon, along with businesses interested in making the town centre a base for their first high street shop.
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council Cabinet member for the Economy, Regeneration and Skills, said: “Swindon town centre is surrounded by major businesses and benefits from high levels of daytime spending from their employees, as well as residents. This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone starting a retail business, or wanting to expand, to try out a town centre location without the usual length of lease from day one that can be a real disincentive.”
Di Powell, Business Improvement District manager for inSwindon said: “The pop-up shop initiative will offer new businesses a perfect opportunity to bring something new to Swindon town centre, before making a long-term commitment. This is a great launch pad for entrepreneurs and provides a relatively low-cost way to kick-start a business. Not only will they be able to showcase their brand, but they will also benefit from the high street footfall.”
Business owners interested in the scheme, and landlords who would like their vacant units to be part of the project, should call Neil Wild at Flashop UK at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 07801 164034.