FOUR enterprising businesswomen have set up stall at a town’s market in a bid to become successful retailers.
And there’s an opportunity for two more start-ups to share in their success.
Curve Clothing; Soap and Soul; Cosy Craft Spot and Cinderella’s Boutique are all trading from Middleton Grange’s Indoor Market in Hartlepool, as part of the Grow Your Own Retailer scheme.
The initiative – supported by Hartlepool Borough Council’s Enterprise Team and Middleton Grange Shopping Centre – provides a stall at the Indoor Market rent-free for six months, along with on-going business mentoring and support from retail and marketing experts.
Andrea Miles, manager of Hartlepool Enterprise Centre, said: “The Grow Your Own Retailer scheme is a great way for start-up and existing traders to test their business ideas and get prepared to take things to the next level.
“It’s an initiative we have run before and have seen some retailers go on to significant success by setting up their own shops and stalls. And there’s still time to get involved, we have two stalls left at the market for retailers to join up and really make a go of their retail ideas.”
The first four traders in the Grow Your Own Retailer scheme are Cosy Craft Spot, operated by Jolanta Narsutiene who has brought a selection of clay-fired pottery, crafts and ornaments from her native Lithuania.
At Curve Clothing, Zoe Angus is stocking an impressive range of contemporary fashions for the larger sized lady, while Chelsea McKie has the latest women’s styles and accessories at Cinderella’s Boutique.
Completing the foursome is Melanie Carberry, who has opened Soap and Soul which stocks hand-made scented soaps, incense sticks, oil burners and ornaments.
Jolanta, who moved to the UK seven years ago, said: “I decided to set up a stall with Lithuanian crafts because every time I returned home, I would bring something back and people would admire the crafts.
“It’s going really well and everyone who visits leaves with a smile. It’s been good to set up before Christmas, because they make ideal gifts.”
Market stalls that are still trading following the first phase of the initiative include In 2 Stitches; Bright and Beautiful; Us 4 Books and Picture House.
Middleton Grange manager Mark Rycraft said: “This is a great scheme that really helps retailers to establish themselves into thriving businesses. It’s thanks to the support of Middleton Grange’s landlords PPG that we are able to waive the rent and other charges for the traders.
“The fact that so many retailers are still trading more than two years after the initial launch proves that this initiative is clearly supporting job creation and business start-up opportunities at the heart of Hartlepool’s retail hub.”
For more information about Grow Your Own Retailer, call Hartlepool Enterprise Centre on (01429) 867677.