Croydon’s first pop-up shop opens for business

Photo 21-10-2013 01 25 55 pm

Nisar Ahmed behind the counter of Croydon’s first pop-up shop Pic: Emmet Simpson

Croydon’s first pop-up shop opened its doors last week. The pop-up shop at 81 Church Street, formally an army surplus store, has been made available for temporary occupancy by Croydon businesses.

Part of plans to tackle the issue of empty premises on Croydon’s high streets, the shop on Church street is the first of many planned by the council. Next month the council plans to make another Church Street property available which will be capable of hosting five businesses.

Current occupant of 81 Church Street, Nisar Ahmed, said of the scheme: “I’m really delighted to have this opportunity to try and expand my business. The pop-up shop will increase the number of shoppers in the area and benefit neighbouring businesses.”

Ahmed is testing his already successful wholesale clothing business in a high street retail setting.

The council sees the plans as an opportunity to encourage spending on the high streets, while also allowing businesses to try out retail models in a low-risk environment. The scheme is planned to run until March 2015, although tenancies are flexible.

A grant of £23 million from the Mayor of London’s Regeneration Fund has allowed this scheme to take shape. This funding ensures that businesses that take up space in the pop-up shop units do not incur business rates and utility costs, factors which can dissuade entrepreneurs.

Councillor Vidhi Mohan said: “Clearly an occupied shop is far more attractive than a boarded up empty unit. This programme is a great way of restoring that empty space, increasing the number of visitors to the high street and boosting business.”

Indeed, pop-up shops have proven successful across London in recent years. Pop-up shops in popular fashion shopping destinations like Brick Lane play host to both start-up businesses and big name brands keen to capitalise on the popularity of the model.

Croydon Council is keen to hear from potential occupants as well as from owners of empty retail units. Further details of the scheme can be found on the scheme’s website.

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