Shop pops up to give town's trade a boost
ENTREPRENEURS have taken over a vacant shop to help bring more empty town centre units back in to use.
Organisers behind Newcastle's Pop-Up Emporium Buy Local hope the move will prove to be the catalyst for more businesses opening up in the town.
The venture has received reduced business and rental rates from Newcastle Borough Council as the authority looks to tackle the growing number of empty units.
The emporium, which is located inside the council-owned Lancaster Building, will play host to a number of designers hoping to cash in on their creations during the festive season, while also offering wall space to artists.
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Ceramic designer Denise O'Sullivan, who is behind the venture, is hoping the scheme will inspire wannabe entrepreneurs by providing a stepping stone into business.
The 32-year-old, from Sneyd Green, has run emporiums in the past but found they suffered because of high rents.
She said: "I have been on the lookout for some key locations where people can sell creative items in places other than craft fairs.
"There is a real revival for craft and hand-made items at the moment."
A national report revealed 18.2 per cent of shops in Newcastle town centre were empty at the end of June.
That compared with 16 per cent at the end of December 2011 and 15.4 per cent in June of that year. .
In the aftermath of the findings, the authority decided to allow pop-up shops to occupy some of its buildings for lower rates.
Every Wednesday the emporium will run as a market with businesses able to rent floor space to sell their products. Typical stalls include jewellery, clothing, food and craft gifts.
Vickey Pearson launched her own business, Myriad Charms, after losing her job. The 30-year-old of Newcastle said: "I had been working in human resources for five years before being made redundant in April.
"I have always been interested in making jewellery and it was just about picking those skills back up.
"I do have a very understanding husband so have been able to pursue it. I think something like this emporium is a fantastic opportunity."
Fellow stall holder Amy Lynch started up craft business Stoke & Mirrors with sister Joanne Haywood.
Amy, aged 26, of Hanley, said: "I go to Afflecks Palace in Manchester and think that is a good idea and so it is nice having an emporium around here."
Stephanie McClelland, aged 32, of Burslem, runs Ann's Larder.
She said: "I started out making preserves as Christmas presents and people said I should think about selling them.
"I do try to go to different craft fairs but it is really good having this here."
When the space is not being used by traders, it will open up to artists with various workshops also due to take place.
For full event listing visit www.popupemporium.com