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Peterborough store selling solely local products looks to expand.

29 Apr 2024

A Peterborough store stocking products solely from local entrepreneurs said it is bucking the High Street trend and looking to expand due to its success.
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Tesco accused of undercutting local shops via its wholesale business.

29 Apr 2024

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Peterborough store selling solely local products looks to expand.

Posted on in Business News

A Peterborough store stocking products solely from local entrepreneurs said it is bucking the High Street trend and looking to expand due to its success.

Peterbrough store

Image from: facebook.com/upthegardenbath

The Unity store in the Queensgate Centre opened in November and is run by not-for-profit community organisation Up The Garden Bath. It sells items from businesses based within 20 miles but is widening it to 50 and hopes to open a Wisbech shop.

Its co-founder said it helped those who could not run their own stores:

Dave Poulton said: "Since the store opened, we have had 15,000 transactions and taken over £200,000 in total sales.

"The idea of Unity is to support people who might not be able to afford to get their own shop. They can sell their items in our shop and get that platform.

"It has been a brilliant illustration that it is a viable idea."

The shop stocks products from independent businesses, selling everything from gift cards to fabric plant pots.

Mr Poulton said he took no commission on sales but charged businesses a £125 rental fee for 28 days of trading. He pays a reduced business rate, due to a government reduction, and said Queensgate had "helped us out" with the rent to operate. He said he was delighted with the shop's success, at a time when flagship stores such as Marks and Spencer were leaving the city centre.

"People are coming in to support local businesses. We are generating money for local businesses," Mr Poulton told the BBC.

"From the start we had a rule that our traders must be based within a 20-mile radius of Peterborough. This summer we are extending that to 50 miles to give more small businesses the opportunity to get their products out there.

"We know there are some brilliant, artistic, creative people in Cambridge, who will now be eligible to join us.

"We are currently in talks to bring a similar outlet to the Horse Fair shopping centre in the Fenland town of Wisbech later this year."

Mum-of-four Natalie King sells her handcrafted garden signs in the shop.

"I sell around 30-40 items a week, it is brilliant. I get such a buzz coming here," she said.

"I have four children, aged between five and 15. With this I can work around my family and still be a proper mum to my kids. They even enjoy helping me create items."

She also sells on three online platforms, but they take a 15% cut of sales and she has the added "hassle" of packaging and posting items. She said in a shop people loved to browse and pick up items and socialise.

"Big businesses can go online, but this type of shop is the way forward - unique items you can't find anywhere else," she said.

Dr Cheryl Greyson, senior lecturer and retail expert at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Peterborough, said the High Street "still has a place" in the future of shopping.

"There is still a call for places for people to gather and feel connected," she said.

"Unity is a beautifully curated retail space and has a community feel with a crafting table and regular workshops.

"It had the chance to test its innovative concept with the support of Queensgate Shopping Centre.

"If more shopping centres could offer these types of flexible opportunities to community-based organisations, we could see some exciting new stores on the High Street."



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