Championing the High Street – The Government Opens it’s first Pop-Up Shop in Whitehall

24th December 2012

This December the UK government opened their own pop-up shop in a bid to help revitalise the UK’s ailing high streets. A joint venture between national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) the store is intended as a place to showcase some of Britain’s best start-up retailers to London’s shoppers.

Six new businesses every fortnight will be featured at the store, which will be open for a year. These businesses will share the running costs between them during their time at the store and will use the space, both to show off their brand and trial new business ideas. The DCLG is not seeking any financial return from the shop, the focus will be purely on boosting the various businesses involved in the project, with support from sponsors Intuit, John Lewis and StartUp Britain.

Eric Pickles, DCLG secretary of state describes the motivation behind the idea:

“We are absolutely determined to support the high street and we know pop-ups are a great way to bring empty shops back to life and get new businesses going, so we thought why not open one right here in the department in time for Cardinal Place shoppers to get their Christmas goodies.

“It will also showcase how we can unleash more of our best and brightest young entrepreneurs onto this country’s high streets.”

Since the economic downturn, pop-up stores have become more prolific in the UK. Necessity is the mother of invention and creativity flows when funds are limited. As previously reported on this blog, the government have been taking steps to help businesses get going more quickly. Encouraging them to create pop-up stores in empty retail units by easing planning laws, cutting red tape and persuading landlords of empty stores to support temporary leases.

Mark Prisk MP, who has been supporting the new approach to pop-up retail explains:

“There’s a real appetite in our town centres to get them revitalised so that they remain attractive places to visit. And it’s not just talk: there are many extremely capable and serious people with some superb ideas; but they need a bit of help to get started.”

Diesel pop-up store

Diesel pop-up store

(Images on this post are of the Barber pop-up store for Diesel – a separate project in Carnaby Street designed by Barber Design. This 6 week store with cardboard interiors encouraged locals to get involved with the design of the store and personalise with chalk and markers. Customers loved this space and it created immediate brand awareness for the client.)


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