Source: NW Evening Mail, 4 October 2010
NEWLY-REVAMPED Barrow town centre is bucking the national trend by attracting businesses into its empty shops.
In August the Evening Mail found around 30 vacant properties in the town centre.
Twenty were in Dalton Road and three were in Portland Walk.
But in recent months a number of national chains and independent businesses have moved in.
Businesses including Hairworks, Lakes Bakery and Bright House have filled empty units in Dalton Road.
The Evening Mail found 18 vacant premises on the street. but council officials said some of those, including the former Parm Properties and ContinentAL’s, will soon have new tenants. More recently, women’s clothing store Pilot moved into the former Bay Trading store in Portland Walk and Bargain Book Time opened opposite Debenham’s.
There is now only one empty unit in Portland Walk. It was home to photography retailers Jessops, which closed in February last year.
Ann Taylforth, town centre manager for Barrow Borough Council, said: “It’s exceptionally encouraging. An awful lot has gone into Portland Walk in the last couple of months.
“We had feedback at someone from Arcadia saying it was wonderful and positive to see Barrow investing in its town centre, and it looks very active.
“We’re bucking the trend. Other towns in the North are still struggling with empty shops or closures, but we’re managing to attract new businesses.”
Work has now started on transforming the former JJB shop into a Store Twenty One branch.
The chain stocks clothing for men, women and children and also sells homeware.
It is currently advertising for a manager, assistant manager and sales staff in Barrow.
Mrs Taylforth said: “The JJB store is an expensive unit, so it shows a serious commitment and confidence that a Store Twenty One will attract shoppers in Barrow.”
With the multi-million pound makeover to Barrow town centre nearing completion, the council is keen to encourage shoppers to see what it currently has to offer.
Mrs Taylforth said: “I think there are a lot of people who might not have been to the town centre for a while and will be quite surprised by what they see, particularly the younger generation. We are working with shops and businesses on a Christmas campaign which aims to encourage people to do their Christmas shopping here.”
First published at 13:08, Monday, 04 October 2010
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk