Stowmarket: Town centre partnership launches project to fill empty shops

Sharon Brown, Stowmarket town centre manager.

Sharon Brown, Stowmarket town centre manager. - Credit: Archant

A GROUP tasked with increasing footfall in a Suffolk town has launched a bid to encourage start-up businesses.

Stowmarket Town Centre Partnership is looking for entrepreneurs to rent parts of empty shops from them to reduce the costs on fledging companies.

The group is aiming to open its first premises in 15 Bury Street as the pilot project.

Town centre manager for the partnership Sharon Brown said: “This is a great opportunity for people to test their retail concept, without the risks involved in opening a shop on their own.”

Mrs Brown said she would give businesses retail advice and guidance as they develop.

The partnership is looking to use the Bury Street premises for businesses selling clothes, jewellery, handbags and accessories.

Start-up businesses will be able to rent an area within the shop which fits their needs and share the costs dependent on the size of space they occupy.

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Dawn Easter, economic development officer from Mid Suffolk District Council, said: “Although Stowmarket has a low level of empty shops compared to many market towns, this is a new way of giving several businesses the chance to sell their products locally and encourage more people to come shopping in Stowmarket town centre.”

The Town Centre Partnership received a grant – from the Government’s ‘Portas Pilot’ scheme – which will be used to finance the project.

The partnership wants to offer a diverse range of retail outlets in the town, which is intended to drive up shopper numbers in Stowmarket.

Mrs Brown said they are hoping the businesses would look to open permanent shops once they had become established.

If you are interested in the project contact Sharon Brown by email: or phone 07881 992775.