Portas ‘pop-up’ shops open in bid to boost resort trade

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BUSINESSES in Bridlington are being offered rent-free premises as part of plans to revitalise the town centre.

The first of a series of “pop-up” shops, based on recommendations by retail consultant Mary Portas, will open in The Promenades Shopping Centre today.

Organisers say they have been “inundated” by firms wanting to take part in the trial, and have already signed up a bridal shop, a photographer’s, a computer business, a bicycle shop, food businesses, and a company called Crates 4U, which makes “beautiful” furniture from apple crates.

The resort failed in its bid to become a Portas Pilot town, but was awarded £10,000 through the Town Centre Partners initiative, and is using this through the Bridlington Town Centre Partners group to fund the programme having agreed reduced rent with the shopping centre.

Participating firms can occupy the unit from between two and three weeks over the 18-week period of the trial, which could be extended for a similar period if successful.

Group chairman Ann Smith, of MG&AI Smith Butchers on Chapel Street, said: “Six months of preparation will come to fruition with the exciting launch of ‘pop-up’ shops in Bridlington.

“As established traders in Bridlington, the group all want to see our town centre thriving and hope this helps to bring in the shopkeepers of tomorrow, giving them a low-risk start to trying out their business ideas.”

Coun Jane Evison, East Riding Council portfolio holder for economy, investment and inequalities, said: “This is a great project, using the limited funds available, with huge co-operation from The Promenades Shopping Centre and working with local business experts who have given up their own time to support the initiative.

“Bridlington will launch, what we believe to be, the first ‘pop-up’ shop initiative in the East Riding.

“We really hope that this will act as a spring board for businesses to start-up, or to expand their business, which could include moving on to more permanent arrangements.”

Entrepreneurs taking part in the pilot will be offered ongoing business advice.

Ms Portas was commissioned by the Government to come up with a plan to revitalise town centres two years ago.