Wallingford’s new pop up shop will open this month and more than 20 businesses have already expressed an interest in taking up a space. The unit, on Wallingford High Street, is being let by town centre specialists Iain Nicholson and Neil Wild of Flashop UK Ltd, as part of a joint South Oxfordshire District Council-Wallingford Town Council initiative.
Their task was to work with Wallingford Market Town Co-ordinator, Kate Rayner, to support efforts to reduce the number of empty shops in the town centre and encourage new businesses in to further strengthen its independent core.
Businesses keen to test whether Wallingford is the right place for their High Street venture will be offered the opportunity to hire the space for short periods of time on a weekly fee inclusive of rent and utilities. Priority is being given to businesses that add to the mix of independents in the town and those that strengthen Wallingford’s reputation as a shopping destination.
Cllr Robert Simister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “It is great news that Wallingford is ready to launch its first pop up shop. Similar initiatives in our other towns have proven to be successful at generating new tenants to fill empty units, and we look forward to seeing the pop-up businesses contributing the town’s varied shopping offer.”
Wallingford Mayor, Cllr Lynda Atkins, said: “Wallingford Town Council welcomes the pop up shop to our town centre. We’re delighted that there are so many businesses keen to try out trading in Wallingford, and look forward to seeing some of them becoming a permanent feature in our town centre, once more empty units become available.”
Other units in the town that were empty at the turn of the year are now either sold, let, under offer or needing building or refurbishment work before coming back onto the market. Attention will now turn to building a pipeline of businesses ready to take on the units currently being temporarily occupied by Pettits of Wallingford during their store redevelopment project.
Wallingford-based commercial agent, Ruth Carroll, whose firm has let four of the empty town centre properties to be occupied in recent months, said: “I am delighted that I have achieved lettings in four of the empty shop premises in Wallingford. 51 St Martins Street (opposite Waitrose) has recently opened as a further office for estate agents Davis Tate, and I have agreed terms on the shop premises next-door (formerly Masterfloors) so we can look forward to this being occupied once more. 11 St Mary’s Street has recently been let to a new business, “Busy Brush Café”, a quirky craft cafe with creative activities for adults and children. And finally, 1 Market Place has recently let to a husband and wife team. It will be known as “made by Raspberry Tart” and offer handmade clothing and accessories plus workshops in knitting, crochet, sewing and quilting. I believe all the above retailers will have a positive impact on Wallingford and will, I am sure, bring people into the town.”