Aylesbury’s town centre manager is already looking for aspiring retailers to take part in the Retail Lift Off iniative in 2014.
Three independent retailers are currently taking advantage of the iniative offering six weeks of rent free trading in Aylesbury, with two more to follow in the coming months.
The Aylesbury Town Centre Partnership scheme offers either a market stall on any or all market days, a mobile barrow which can be wheeled around town to meet footfall, a public space such as in Hale Leys shopping centre or an empty shop unit.
Following the six week period traders pay rent on a sliding scale with any extra money being reinvested to help the next set of budding retailers.
The partnership is already looking for candidates for next year.
They are invited to email their proposals to town centre manager Diana Fawcett.
Three of the businesses in the 2013 initiative have now started trading, with the other two on the way. All were selected after a rigorous judging process.
> Two sisters from Aylesbury are trading from a portable barrow in the Hale Leys shopping centre every Wednesday and Friday. Karen Beazley and Tracy Cook’s Beco Chic Accessories offers a variety of affordable fashion items including handbags, scarves and jewellery.
> Anne Kiernan, a Quainton resident behind Annie’s Kitchen Preserves, is selling homemade jams, jellies, marmalades and chutney at Aylesbury market every Saturday. She received an award for her marmalade at the World’s Original Marmalade Awards and Festival last year.
> Also at the market is Malcolm Soper’s Rock of the Raven. The Leighton Buzzard artist will be selling his unique “shabby chic” furniture every Wednesday and Friday.
> Andrew Dean’s Pogo is set to open in October. The dedicated children’s shop will feature stock made or sourced locally.
> Princes Risborough resident Michelle Young will be setting up her Coolberry Café next year. She’ll be selling frozen yoghurts, waffles, milkshakes and smoothies from a mobile unit.
The scheme has been inspired by the Mary Portas report which said towns need to attract new shoppers and compete with the internet by offering something different.
Former Apprentice winner and founder of Raw Talent Academy, Lee McQueen, is supporting the initiative.
He said: “It’s great to see the Aylesbury’s Town Centre Partnership supporting budding entrepreneurs. This is exactly the sort of project we need to see more of.
“I look forward to hearing how things progress and all the best to everyone involved.”
The scheme has benefited from in-kind funding equating to almost £87,000 from various businesses offering free consultancy, room hire, advertising, training and trading space.
There has also been funding from Aylesbury Town Council, Greater Local Area Forum and the government.
Diana Fawcett, Aylesbury town centre manager, said: “We know the retail environment can be tough, particularly for independents.
“Retail Lift Off is supporting ambitious independents where it matters by offering a period of rent free trading and providing awareness and retail support, through ongoing mentoring as they trade.
“We are delighted with the calibre of the new traders and their offers will add more choice for our shoppers.”
The Town Centre Partnership is looking to run the scheme again next year.
For more information, call 01296 585880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org