Banbury's Castle Quay looking for next candidate for its successful business incubation programme

Castle Quay is looking for the next candidate for its successful business incubation programme

By Matt Elofson
Monday, 13th September 2021, 11:12 pm
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 11:14 pm
Castle Quay is looking for the next candidate for its successful business incubation programme, as POP complete their term in the shopping centre and graduate to a nearby permanent home. POP is an independent showcasing the very best in children’s toys, books and gifts.
Castle Quay is looking for the next candidate for its successful business incubation programme, as POP complete their term in the shopping centre and graduate to a nearby permanent home. POP is an independent showcasing the very best in children’s toys, books and gifts.

Banbury' s Castle Quay looking for next candidate for its successful business incubation programme

Castle Quay is looking for the next candidate for its successful business incubation programme, as POP complete their term in the shopping centre and graduate to a nearby permanent home.

In the last 12 months the management team at Castle Quay has worked closely with local business, POP, to help them develop their brick and mortar offering, and the centre is pleased that they have found a permanent residence in Banbury High Street.

POP is an independent curated lifestyle concept store showcasing the very best in children’s toys, books and gifts. The owners of the brand are local to Banbury and wanted Castle Quay to be their first fixed site. The Castle Quay store was POP’s first physical shop and was a test to see how it would fare alongside the owner’s already very successful online business.

Castle Quay is now looking for the next POP as the centre management team roll out their small business incubation programme. Space at the shopping centre comes with the opportunity to be mentored not only by the shopping centre management team, but by Carly and Sophie as well, who are committed advocates for independent businesses in the region.

This opportunity comes at an exciting time as Castle Quay recently launched the first phase of its Waterfront development, including a new 30,000 sq. ft Lidl and 117 room Premier Inn.

In the second phase The Light will be opening a high-quality entertainment experience in Easter 2022, including a state-of-the-art eight screen cinema, a leisure offering with 10 lanes of bowling and a sun terrace overlooking the canal. The Waterfront will also include several restaurants, which are set to open at the beginning of next year.

While many UK shopping centres are struggling following the repercussions of Covid-19, Castle Quay is performing well with 104,309 visitors last week. Castle Quay officials expect footfall to increase steadily each week as visitors feel more and more comfortable venturing out, and tourists visit the town again.

There remain several permanent and semi-permanent sites available within Castle Quay so if you are interested in learning more, please contact [email protected]

Carly Allison, owner of POP, said: “Having the opportunity to open a shop in Castle Quay has been such a positive and pivotal step for our business. Allowing us to test the market and understand how to set up a physical shop, whilst having the safety net and support of Castle Quay, has been invaluable. Castle Quay provided us with the footfall to make sure our brand was well known locally, while being amongst established retailers gave us real credibility.

“We’ll be sad to leave Castle Quay behind - during our time there we’ve seen such positive changes and can see so many more to come. It’s given us the confidence to go it alone and allowed us to make a leap of faith in finding POP’s forever home. We really hope that other local businesses can follow in our footsteps and not only grow their own businesses but make Banbury a fantastic place for businesses to thrive.”

Oliver Wren, centre director at Castle Quay, said: “The POP team have been incredible to work with and we wish them the very best luck in their new destination. While we are obviously sad to see them leave the centre, we are dedicated to cultivating new local talent and we continue to attract local independent businesses to the centre. If you have a business that is just starting out and you are interested in having a physical store in a thriving retail destination, then please get in touch with team.”