Pop-up shop initiative to help Banbury town centre grow

Town team co-ordinators Neil Wild, left and Iain Nicholson are working to get empty town centre units back open again. NNL-151003-123907009
Town team co-ordinators Neil Wild, left and Iain Nicholson are working to get empty town centre units back open again. NNL-151003-123907009

Small independent businesses looking to get a town centre presence in Banbury can make a start as part of a new pop-up shop initiative.

Banbury’s town team of Neil Wild and Iain Nicholson is making available a unit on Church Walk for short term lets, to give businesses an opportunity to gain the confidence they need to commit to a longer stay.

The unit was until recently occupied by popular music shop Pink Pig.

Adderbury-based baby wear and toddler clothes specialists MerryGoRound are the first to take up the idea, and have booked the unit for a month from the middle of this month.

Mr Wild and Mr Nicholson are still keen to hear from other would-be occupiers, and are both exploring the possibilities of other units in the heart of Banbury.

Caroline Taylor, who owns MerryGoRound, said: “As a local business already we are keen to offer our baby and toddler clothing and accessories to people in a way that may be easier to access than our Adderbury base.

“We also sell and give advice on using washable nappies and washable potty training pants. Being part of this project gives MerryGoRound the opportunity to have a shop presence in the heart of Banbury town centre.”

Cherwell District Council appointed the town team co-ordinators last year to help drive a project that also focuses on boosting footfall, Banbury as a place to would-be new town centre businesses and developing initiatives to help reduce the ‘leakage’ of spending power that the town experiences.

When the project started in April 2014 there weere 53 empty shops, but the last audit saw that figure drop to 45. New independent businesses already set up in the town since the town team’s appointment are Fresh Air Junkie, Whistling Kettle Cafe, Lucha Burrito, Little Amsterdam Deli Cafe, Games Workshop, The Atic and Naomi’s Cafe Bar Art and More.

Councillor Kieron Mallon, Cherwell’s lead member for Banbury futures, said: “Bringing new independent businesses into Banbury town centre is key to its vitality and sustainability.

“Experience from other towns shows the valuable role the pop-up shop model can play in creating a pipeline of new occupiers for empty town centre units.”

Businesses interested in being part of the pop up shop programme should call Mr Wild on 07801 164034 or email neil@wild-property.co.uk