Finances are often a major stumbling block when it comes to opening your own shop, even at the planning stages. Thankfully it seems that local authorities have recognised this and are attempting to ease the strain on those planning on taking that leap of shop lease ownership.
Most recently Brighton council have introduced a scheme that offers significant discounts to retailers willing to take up temporary leases in shops that have been left empty for a long period of time, at a minimum of 6 months. The Empty Property Occupation Discount will last for the first 6 months of the lease and will only be made available to smaller scale companies.
This is a huge step forward for independent traders as it encourages social enterprise in a useful way, easing the strain on the pockets of those wanting to contribute to the economy.
This type of scheme obviously not only helps traders but also the image of the local area. After all, if commercial property is full, or near to full, then it makes visitors feel like that area is a place they would like to spend more time in.
Also, councils would rather get some money than no money from an empty commercial property, so with this scheme everyone wins.
For more information on the Empty Property Occupation Discount and to see if you qualify, check out the Brighton Council website. And if you need any advice on opening your first pop up or temporary retail space, get in touch with us here at Popupspace. We have a great deal of experience in this industry and offer a range of property relate services, including location sourcing. So send us an email and we can talk more about how we can help you and your business.
Sarah James, Popupspace
An entrepreneur from Henley has gained successes in the world of retail pop ups and has big ambitions to continue this achievement in her home town.
Louise Tippey has been running her own fashion business for years and, like many other self starters, was put off opening a bricks and mortar store because of the daunting financial commitments and red tape. Earlier this year when she came across a government scheme to fund and support pop up shops she leapt at the chance and applied.
The Government Startup Britain scheme has been launched in partnership with high street giant John Lewes. They have recognised there is a need to fill these empty spaces for the good of the community.
Louise is currently renting a space in Camberley as part of the pilot project that will run for 6 weeks. Each shopkeeper will trade from their space for a period of 2 weeks and will then hand over their pitch to the next group, paying just £100 a week in rent.
The success of this project is clear and if similar schemes were to be rolled out across the country, the damage empty shops have would be minimised. In Louise’s home town of Henley there will soon be 17 retail closures, with new permanent tenants becoming harder and harder to find.
This has an impact not only on the landlord’s income but also on the shops still open around them as empty retail spaces turn shoppers off visiting a town at all. This scheme would ensure that spaces stay open while also creating an ever changing environment and more interesting and alive town and high street.
If you have been inspired by this and want to know more about running your own pop up space, get in touch with us. You could change the face of your high street.
Sarah James, Popupspace
The growth and accessibility of the internet has opened many doors and opportunities for small businesses. In particular, those who would have trouble financing a bricks and mortar shop may have turned to a more outdoor version of what we now know as Pop Up shops, like market stalls and fairs.
However, not only is the internet easily accessible, the start up and maintenance costs of running an online shop compared to a physical outlet is greatly reduced. And because of this, online retailers can offer hugely discounted prices. This has gradually put more and more pressure on our high streets and a recent study by the Centre for Retail Research has predicted that over 60,000 UK shops could close within the next five years because of this unbeatable competition.
Nobody wants to see empty shops in our high streets. Not only does it harm the economy and tourism in certain areas, but it can also bring down the local morale and damage other retailers who are still trading with the reduction in visitors.
With local councils starting to recognise that a more flexible approach to leasing retail spaces is needed to improve the economy, some are reducing rates and lease terms. This can provide new and small businesses with a chance to use this lull as an opportunity to fill those empty spaces. Some towns and cities have very large properties to fill and these would provide excellent opportunities for start up collectives or businesses already trading online.
No longer should there be retailers who are exclusively bricks and mortar or exclusively online. Combining the two, coupled with more flexible terms like temporary pop ups is surely the way to go to keep the UK high street energised.
We at Popupspace have gathered a wealth of retail knowledge over the years and are here to help with any questions you have about starting your own Pop Up shop. So get in touch today and see how you can start reshaping your high street for the better.
Sarah James, Popupspace
Bristol based Parsons Bakery has revealed that their temporary site in Bedminster, which opened on 15th December, has been trading at a profit and the company now wants to continue operating the shop.
Parsons Bakery is a family-run chain of 34 retail stores. They were originally approached by Community Regeneration Group Way Out West to open the pop up.
Nick Parsons, Managing Director at Parsons Bakery, said: “The Group surveyed the surrounding residents to see which stores they valued the most and would like to see reopen on their high street, and a local bakery came in at the top of their list. So the Community Group asked any local landlords who had empty properties if they would be interested in letting for a pop-up shop.” He added that his company could not justify spending its normal new store refurbishment costs of £70,000, but set a £5,000 budget to transform the 250 sq ft shop.
Parsons explained: “The store has a limited product range which features all of the normal bakery classics…but has just a few options in each category so we can offer all our ‘best sellers’ and also minimise any waste. We were clear and honest from the outset that this pop up had to generate a profit and was not a charity cause. We have been delighted with the results. The store trades profitably and above our initial expectations, and we are exploring all options for continuing at the site after the three month period runs out. The local residents love having a baker back on their street and have been very supportive – at the end of the day if they use it, it will stay trading.”
We hear a lot about support for startup companies wanting to trade from a pop up store. This is a great reminder that established businesses can benefit from the pop up model and play a really important part in regenerating our high streets in doing so.
Selkirk is the latest town to utilise the pop up shop to aid the regeneration of their high street. The Chamber of Trade plans to create four pop up shops in Market Place and High Street that are available to let for a day, week or a month at a time.
“The Chamber of Trade realised the town needed a lift and a freshness,” explained Stuart Davidson, an Architectural Technologist whose practice is in the town. “We’ve got a few empty shops, and we saw pop-up shops working in Stirling and East Kilbride, and thought: why not here? Pop-up shops are there for anyone to use for half a day, up to a week,” he added. “It gives businesses flexibility, by not having to fix themselves to premises or a long-term lease.”
An application for funding has been submitted for 75% of the £20,000 required to refurbish the shops and to employ a part time administrator and the group is hoping to to secure the rest of the funding from other funding bodies such as Awards for All and the Selkirk Common Good Fund. Should the funding be received they are hoping to open the first pop up shop in Spring 2013.
We Are Your Emporium in Micklegate was set up by a collective of social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations to create opportunities for people with learning difficulties.
The gift shop and gallery has been trading as a pop up shop since April but feared they would have to close before the Christmas rush due to a large rates bill. Thankfully the City of York Council has thrown them a lifeline and waived the rates bill to enable the shop to stay open to sell gifts during the run up to Christmas.
Angela Taylor, the Manager, said: “It means there’s a little longer for people to be able to gain valuable work experience and earn extra income for the groups. We really wanted to get the Christmas period because of the fact that people are out on the high street buying gifts and they’re the sort of people the shop is targeted towards.”
For more information, contact Paul Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
Following the Government’s response to the Portas Review of the country’s ailing High Streets, Local Government Minister Grant Shapps has put some money behind Mary Portas’ ideas.
The funding package includes a £10 million High Street Innovation Fund. Kick started by tax-payers’ money, the Government hopes that councils and landlords will boost the fund so the scheme could see £30 million being made available to help small and start-up businesses bring vacant high street shops back into use. The fund has been allocated to 100 local authorities blighted by empty shops, each of whom will receive £100,000.
Martin Blackwell, Chief Executive at the Association of Town Centre Managers, commented:
“We recognise that £100,000, while useful, is not a panacea. It is vital that local authorities spend it wisely, learning from what has been achieved already. Additionally, we want all locations across the UK, beneficiaries or not, to benefit from the knowledge gained as new ideas are piloted.”
Pop up shops are likely to play a starring role in the implementation of the fund by local authorities.
The Government is encouraging local authorities to use new ways of getting empty properties occupied, including offering business rate discounts – which councils are now able to do following a change in the law. Councils are also being asked to use their planning powers – including ‘meanwhile uses’ – to help revitalise the high street.