THREE independent businesses in Andover have moved into a brand new ‘shared store’ unit at the Chantry Centre.
The concept, launched by Andover BID last year, aims to help ‘nascent’ businesses thrive by giving them space to trade.
The first such store was launched by the group in April 2021, and BID Director Steve Godwin told the advertiser it has been an “exciting journey”.
“When we launched it, we didn’t really know what we were going to unlock, but it really took off,” he said.
“I think there’s a pattern here that could be used anywhere.”
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The idea was not to offer a “pop up shop” but rather an “incubator”, Steve added, which would help nurture small start-ups until they are ready to progress.
Today, three of the original eight businesses have moved to a brand new unit which is in the ‘busiest area’ of Andover Mall.
These are Sweet Ideas, a confectionery company; House of Elizabeth, which specializes in luxury fragrances, including scented candles and other gifts; and CJM Glasses.
Steve added: “We didn’t plan for this, but we actually have three senses – taste, site and smell – coming together, and it’s a really nice combination!
“We’re hoping that over time we’ll be able to move these businesses into their own units downtown and they can run their own buildings like other businesses do.”
Commenting on the new opportunity, Carol Miller of CJM Eywear said: “Everyone loves the new look, the support from Andover BID has been fantastic and the extra space has allowed me to expand my range of frames and accessories.
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Liz Rheeder of House of Elizabeth said, “We are very excited to take the next step in our business, and the positive customer feedback has been amazing,” while Jo Tierney of Sweet Ideas added, “I love the way including anyone who walks past stops and smiles as they look inside. Our new look gives us the impression of being in a real store”.
The new unit was officially opened last week by TVBC Chief Cllr Phil North and Andover MP Kit Malthouse.
Cllr North said: “It is a privilege to be part of the success of this model and to see and experience the developments that have taken place.”
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