A new retail concept, aimed at attracting fledgling retailers, is on track to open in Ipswich later this month.
Microshops, located in the former Peacocks store in The East Gate Centre, will open its doors on June 25, with local, independent start-ups ready to start trading.
LCP, the national commercial property and investment company behind the concept and which owns and manages the centre, has billed Microshops as an exciting retail opportunity for retailers who want to try their first bricks and mortar selling space.
Each retail pod, which is let on an affordable, all-inclusive, flexible monthly contract, is also suitable for artists, craftspeople and designers.
The Ipswich Microshops can accommodate 25 retail pods and so far, seven are ready to open, including a florist, vintage HiFi and vintage clothing sellers. There will also be food and beverage outlets, with so far a coffee shop with seating, as well as vendors selling barbecue food, African dishes, and waffles.
Ben Stamp, who is opening the Cooke Barista cafe, has worked in hospitality for more than 20 years and is looking forward to welcoming customers.
“I decided to start my business because of the Microshop concept; a start-up revolution, small businesses working together, all inclusive lease, building a community, a local hub network,” he said.
“I don’t think I could have done it any other way; I have always wanted to run my own business and Microshops has given me this opportunity. My plan is to make the most amazing cookies and coffee and to build a business that will thrive on the high street.”
Florist Zoe Foulger, of Blooming Lovely Flowers, said: “I think it’s an amazing idea, something Ipswich desperately needs. It will give me a shop front for more people to see my work. I try to be as eco friendly as possible and all my bouquet boxes are made in Ireland and are fully compostable. I also grow as many blooms as I can myself. I also support some British grown flower wholesalers, especially at this time of year.”
Natalie Sebastian, lead co-ordinator for Microshops, said: “We’ve been working on the Microshops idea for a few months and are excited to launch it at The East Gate Centre with our first tenants. These are quality spaces that enable would-be entrepreneurs or start-up retailers to test their business by moving into a shop unit without committing thousands of pounds to it.
“In such a busy centre with high footfall, it’s a great place for local, independent traders to try out their business.”
LCP has launched Microshops in five other towns where it owns and manages retail centres: Margate, Aldershot, Thornaby-on-Tees, Govan Cross, and St Helens. A further two in Scotland are due to open in the summer.
All of the Microshops occupy vacated larger stores in LCP’s retail centres and have been carefully fitted out to create a modern and fun environment where occupiers can brand their own space.