While the papers may be awash with negative news stories concerning the high street, we can’t help but feel inspired and re invigorated by the new wave of business communities emerging around the city.
It began with Draper’s Yard, an independent hub of creativity, the popular marketplace showcases an eclectic mix of over 20 different businesses including craft, hairdressing and even coffee. What makes this place so appealing to trendy traders is the flexibility – so businesses can choose whether to simply host a pop-up for a day or rent a shed for a week or a month.
This type of temporary trading gives new, fledgling businesses the opportunity to test the market, foster new relationships, build their customer base and grow. Local jewellery business, Lucy with Diamonds is the perfect illustration of this progression. Having initially started out in Draper’s Yard, Lucy has switched her shed for a successful shop in Southgate. Likewise Parker & Gibbs moved their pop-up interior design and furnishings business from Draper’s Yard to Little London last year.
This incubator idea is now being mirrored across Chichester, opening doors for a whole range of entrepreneurs and businesses. Last month we announced the launch of Freedom Works in Metro House, who offer co-working spaces for everything from small businesses to freelancers and start-ups. Similarly Rume2 in Crane Street also offer flexible and accessible workspace solutions for entrepreneurs to network, collaborate and grow. Both have chosen to be based in the heart of Chichester, which gives new, aspiring businesses a real taste for their enterprise and easy access to their end-consumer.
There may be a great shift occurring on the high street but hopefully these success stories offer some comfort in these challenging times.