Archive for June, 2013

From empty slots to pop-up shops

Friday, June 28th, 2013

No-one can miss the increasing number of empty, shuttered-up shops on our High Streets. Even here in Harrogate- a town previously renowned as being ‘recession proof’ we have the largest number of empty shops around town that I have seen since moving here 12 years ago, with both Independent and household name businesses closing.

Are people spending less on the High Street and more online?

Are business rents and rates too high for the smaller independent shops to afford?

Are parking costs putting people off, driving people to drive to out-of-town shopping malls where parking is free?

Here at Chiggs we practice what we preach, and really try to shop at our local independent retailers- buying meat from the butcher; fruit and veg from an excellent, knowledgeable greengrocers right in the centre of Harrogate; cards and presents from the gorgeous Magpie Greetings  (where Baby Feed Wheels and Get Well Wheels are also available!); and last December we held Holly’s birthday party at Pots 2 Go ceramic cafe in town (also a Chiggs stockist!)

Various initiatives have been started to try to help independent businesses. Mary Portas was appointed by the Government to lead a review into the future of Britain’s high streets (as mentioned previously on the Chiggs blog )- her recommendations generated many column inches in the newspapers- and the annual Independent Retailer Month will again be running throughout the month of July.

Pop-up shops have also started, well, popping up- taking over empty retail units on short term leases. While providing some rent for the landlord and filling an empty shop, albeit temporarily, pop up shops also give entrepreneurs an opportunity to try out their business model without  a huge outlay and tying themselves into the financial commitment of a long lease agreement.

Pop Up Britain (part of Start Up Britain) has recently opened a flagship pop-up shop on London’s famous King’s Road.  The outlet will offer short-term opportunities to start-ups and micro businesses from all over the country over a 12 month period. The fabulous news is that Chiggs stockist Hello Baby Gifts has been selected from over 800 applicants to have a shop, and will be taking their gorgeous baby gifts, hampers and nappy cakes (and of course Baby Feed Wheels!) to Kings’ Road in the first 2 weeks of August.

BabyExpo Brighton free ticket offer.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

BabyExpo Brighton is taking place on the 30th of June at Brighton Racecourse & Conference Centre, Sussex.

Aimed at providing information and shopping opportunities for young families and parents-to-be, there will be over 150 exhibitors attending, with displays, stalls and family-friendly catering.

A wide variety of activities will also be on offer: demo classes, parenting experts, book signings, face painters, baby massage, playzones, meet the midwives, the Natural Parenting Zone, and the ‘mumandworking’ flexible working zone for Sussex-based budding entrepreneurs!

Tickets can be bought in advance for a reduced price of £3 , or bought on the door for £4, however I have received an email from ‘What’s on 4’, who organise the event offering free tickets for the Brighton BabyExpo- click on the link here . As a bonus, goodie bags will be available for the 1st 500 visitors who are advance ticket holders.

Parentskool will be one of the exhibitors at the BabyExpoUK in Brighton- they offer fun, practical and evidence-based  antenatal classes for first time parents in Sussex and beyond, and as part of their classes recommend the Baby Feed Wheel as a useful, new parent feeding equipment must-have!