This month the Chantry Centre will welcome an innovative new retail offering as In Andover’s Shared Shop gets ready to open its doors.
Opening on Saturday 17 April the new shared shop, provided by Test Valley Borough Council and organised by Andover BID, will see a carefully chosen group of small local businesses and start-ups using a shared retail space to promote their services and sell their goods. The initiative is intended to offer each entrepreneur the chance to use the retail space for a limited period of time, in order to expand and develop their businesses before making the move into a retail premises of their own.
From specially crafted gin and ale to traditional sweet creations and gifts, visitors can look forward to shopping an array of artisan food products. Craft lovers will delight in browsing unique pieces of upcycled jewellery and exploring sculptures and household items made from scrap metal. And for those dreaming of a new look after lockdown, you can pop in store for personalised style advice to help match your accessories and outfit to your eyewear. In support of local businesses, each tenant has been selected for their locality to ensure they operate close to Andover.
Not only will the shared shop provide premium retail space in the centre of town for each businesses to showcase their products and services, the BID alongside Test Valley Borough Council will be working closely with each business owner to support them in developing further. Each entrepreneur will receive invaluable advice during their time in the shop, to enrich their business knowledge. Andover BID hopes that all business owners will use their time in the shop to meet new customers, develop their venture and use the tools they learn along the way to help them grow.
Steve Godwin, Manager of Andover BID said: “This initiative to work with The Chantry Centre and Test Valley Borough Council has enabled BID to promote the opportunity for new and fledgling businesses to experience retailing in the high street. Many small and entrepreneurial local businesses have a great product and good customer service experience but are unable to make that first step into their own retail premises. By using this opportunity, we have been able to encourage a lot of interest and the offer will complement the great range of independent traders we already have in the town. We will work closely with those going into the shared shop to support them in their business models and help with marketing with the aim that after a period if they are successful, they can negotiate their own leases locally. Andover is fortunate to have such a wide range of established and local independent traders and BID wants to do all it can to help drive footfall to the town, this is just one of the initiatives we are delivering.”
Creative Director of the In Andover Shared Shop, Rebecca Speculo added: “As an experienced director of creative projects like this shared shop, I’m excited by the potential it has to revolutionise our High Street.”
The shop’s opening will coincide with lockdown restrictions easing and non-essential retail reopening. Visitors to the Chantry Centre can be assured that social distancing measures remain in place to keep everyone safe. Shoppers will be asked to use one-way systems, wear face coverings, unless medically exempt, and use free hand sanitiser available.
Test Valley Borough Council has ambitious plans for the future of the Chantry Centre as part of the town centre redevelopment project. In the meantime the council is actively looking at options for the building’s under-utilised space. The council operates a flexible easy-in, easy-out scheme for local retailers who may wish to trial a short term residence in a retail unit and raise their profile in the town before making a longer term commitment.
Anyone interested in a Chantry Centre pop-up shop or renting a unit for a longer period can contact Colin Hares, at Test Valley Borough Council, on 01264 368000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The InAndover Shared Shop will launch on Saturday 17 April and will be open on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 10am – 5pm.