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Business was booming in Barry town centre, as 23 entrepreneurial traders took over ‘Shared Spaces Barry’ - reaching full capacity within its first week of opening.

Launched in November 2021 by Wales’ leading business support organisation and commercial landlords, Business in Focus, the project was funded by the Vale of Glamorgan Council under the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns Initiative. The Pop-Up Shop was part of the Shared Spaces services offered by Business in Focus and it was occupied by small businesses and start-ups, allowing them to test out their business ideas and products, while also supporting the Council’s ambitions to enhance the vibrancy of the town centre and contribute towards a reduction of empty commercial units in it.

Based in Ty Newydd Road, just off King Square between November 2021 and March 2022, the space welcomed a combination of small business owners and start-ups and was at full capacity throughout this period.  The project offered business owners looking to operate within the local community an opportunity to sell their products and services in a Shared Space with like-minded people and in a supportive environment for the very first time. The Barry Town Centre Shared Space allowed the entrepreneurs to test their markets in a low-risk way and provided opportunity for commercial property owners to see previously unoccupied spaces being utilised.

The businesses were all able to benefit from a successful Christmas with more than half of the generated revenue coming during the six-week Christmas period, and at its peak over 950 people visited the store in just one month.

The project supported 23 micro-business in total, comprising a mixture of full-time entrepreneurs and part-time workers, most of whom are under 25. The businesses taking part were: Polka Lifestyle and Textiles, Nicola’s Crafts, Doggy Bandanas, Carys Ward (Jewellery), The Beer Bucket Company, Laser Llama Designs and Quirky Clay; Rhiwax (wax melts), Meggo Bakes (cakes), Taste of Turner (Caribbean food), Abigail Walker Lingerie, Dwtty Crafts, Double Trouble Coffee, Little Daffodil (children’s clothing), Ivy Melts (wax melts and candles), Majestic Essentials (cosmetics), Take It Personal (personalised crafts), Shecan Closet (clothing), Wellystoppers, Peony Bay Handmade (accessories),Rhys’s Pieces (crafts), Pretty Little Blooms (accessories), Hapus Designs ( t-shirts).

While the pop-up shop has now come to the end of its project, it is hoped that the model can be adopted and replicated across other towns. Many of the entrepreneurs have grown their businesses through the short project and are now ready to take the next step and take on their own retail space.

Business in Focus Chief Executive, Phil Jones said,

“This project enabled us to provide much needed support and flexible premises, tailored towards small business owners in Barry, to test out the model and their own business ideas in a realistic way. As well as being at full capacity throughout, notable successes undoubtedly revolved around the confidence boost for those entrepreneurs who have now taken that next step in securing their own premises, something they say wouldn’t have been possible before.

“We’re hoping that other towns across Wales adopt similar projects to help and support ambitious entrepreneurs who need that help to gain valuable experience, without the traditional commitments that come with securing business space. I also call upon any property owners who could perhaps offer their own space temporarily for future pop-ups like this, so that we can inspire the next generation of local entrepreneurs.”

If you’re thinking the Shared Spaces business model could be the right fit for your vacant property, please contact Shared Spaces on 01656 868545.

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Business in Focus Limited | Registered Address: Unit 14 Bocam Park Old Field Road, Pencoed, Bridgend, Wales, CF35 5LJ | Company Registration No: 02553654 | Registered in Wales | VAT No: 540 8347 48