Pop-up shops – Selkirk, Scotland

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In Selkirk, Scotland, the local Chamber of Trade and Commerce took up the initiative to rent out empty shop spaces to small local entrepreneurs who wanted to try out their start-up businesses. 4 empty spaces and one underused space (a restaurant that was only used by night time) were made available to rent.

The broader goals of the project were:

– to inject variety and interest that both encourages residents to shop locally, and is attractive to visitors
– create a town centre which is alive with changing retail experiences, exhibitions, activities and workshops.
– in and around Selkirk there is a huge range of arts, crafts and food produce being made, but very little of this is for sale in the town. Pop up shops, along with a range of other initiatives and investments in Selkirk, aim to help shape the town centre of the future, by presenting authentic experiences connected with the larger range of local food producing, craft, art activities in the area.
– promote a feeling of community and pride in Selkirk’s High Street

Each pop-up opened for a defined period of time, with a clear start and end date. Many of the pop-up shops opened for a very short time – 2 or 3 days.
In total 290 bookings were made in the 10-month pilot period. The project inspired other towns in the area to start similar pop-up projects. In general, the project has generated very positive advertising and promotion for Selkirk.

How did they do it?
The project is run by a Project Manager who is responsible for making contacts with local producers, makers and businesses to encourage bookings in the early days, co-ordinating bookings and marketing the initiative, in particular through social media.

The Project offered pop up tenants the following (more than just providing a space):

– Short-term access to High Street retail premises
– Liaison with landlords
– Advice re: legalities including Licence to Occupy, insurance
– Marketing support
– Retailing advice

The project manager is supported by a three-man strong steering group with expertise and experience in hospitality and tourism, finance and the built environment. The steering group members are actively involved in the community and sit on other local groups and committees, providing useful connections and cross-fertilisation for the Pop Up Shop project. The project is funded by LEADER £15,000 (a rural development programme by Scottish Government) and Awards for All £3,000 (BIG Lottery programme for community groups). Other income comes from rental fees.