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brian lewis in my time palmers green

Brian Lewis: 'Why not spread a pop-up market of local start-ups and micro businesses across several shops in Palmers Green?'

In the face of the growing problems affecting high streets nationwide and the difficulties faced by small start-up businesses, the Palmers Green Festival is working with local traders and with the Green Lanes Business Association on an initiative designed to help both established shops and promising new start-ups.  Their ambition is for PG to become a thriving local multi-purpose visit centre.

On 1st September local shops will  be hosting "pop-ups" giving new entrepeneurs a chance to show off their wares. Then, at the following day's Palmers Green Festival, the same pop-ups will be featured in the Festival's Arts and Crafts Zone.

Brian Lewis, owner of Palmers Green café and entertainment venue My Time, already has a track record for helping other local businesses.  As well as sourcing food and drink locally, he displays products from several small businesses, such as greetings cards and other art and craft specialities.  My Time even has an area at the front of the cafe where local entrepeneurs can meet their clients.

opera ice cream palmers green festival photo by janusz kalisczak

The PG Festival has always supported small local businesses, such as Opera Ice Cream (Photo: Janusz Kaliszak)

Brian explains the thinking behind the pop-up scheme:  “One proven way to bring footfall into an area is to have a market, so we thought 'Why not spread a pop-up market of local start-ups and micro businesses across several shops in Palmers Green?'”

Palmers Green Festival director Phillip Chard says that throughout its history the Festival has been seeking ways to assist local businesses and is excited about this latest iniative:  "This coming together offers immense marketing exposure over a single weekend for micro businesses, as well as helping our high street traders”.

Could your business benefit from the pop-up market?

In the first instance please contact Brian at My Time.

Brian Lewis, My Time
020 8886 6994

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David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3910 05 Jun 2018 12:59
Love ideas 1 and 2 in particular. PG lacks any large squares or similar where we can have marketplaces, some of the large vacated retail units could be perfect.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3913 07 Jun 2018 11:27
Expanding on the pop-up posting and also ideas by Caley, depending on interest, it may be shops will look at additional pop-up days. Festival is, of course, a one-day-only hit; this year anyway.

Our local (rail car park) market had three huge launches with committed teams under residents Philip, Hannah and finally Anita. None proved sustainable despite their massive efforts. High street traders are now looking at the issue but there are several issues to resolve, not least where to locate it, when (Enfield’s Royal Charter is restrictive) and what to sell to who. The large voids have proved impossible to use for this.

As part of some long running background work, all PG traders have received requests this week for a snapshot of current conditions and also their five year view. Response rates have been very high. Under a LBE umbrella, the coordinating retail specialists will be reporting in a tight timescale.

Outside of this LBE driven work, but not unaligned with it, the majority of traders subsequently received a presentation pack highlighting issues, opportunities, some work currently underway and more. Examples include social media opportunities / guidance and a Landlord Charter seeking to drive a more attractive high street estate. This particular work strand includes GLBA but is broader in its trader reach.

All work to date has been purely trader focused but the expectation is that as a high street approach is developed, residents, visitors and others will be asked to contribute. Until then, thoughts via this site are as good as anywhere – and in truth probably the best current place to send them.

[Admin comment: The "background work" that Karl refers to here is the Reimagining Palmers Green initiative mentioned below by Natasha Morris. For more information see A facelift for pG could be the start of a high street renaissance . If you have comments, please make them under that article.]
N Morris's Avatar
N Morris posted a reply #3914 11 Jun 2018 09:41
Following on from Karl's comment - I attach the presentation that was circulated to those traders whose contacts I had collected to date and am happy to post here for wider circulation/comment.

Reimagining Palmers Green Presentation
Sue Beard's Avatar
Sue Beard posted a reply #3924 14 Jun 2018 08:37
Thank you for all you are doing Brian, Karl, Natasha...if this could all happen- wow
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3947 04 Jul 2018 14:55
The death of the UK’s high street story rumbles on with the latest Grimsey report released today. He is now saying, “bricks and mortar retailing can no longer be the anchor for thriving high streets”, instead he indicates they should move with the times and “be repopulated and refashioned as community hubs that include housing, health and leisure, entertainment, education, arts, business / office space and some shops”. I think that’s a message many in PG have been communicating for a long while.

On that popular life-or-death chestnut of parking / free parking he puts the high street's decline down to the growth in popularity of out-of-town shopping centres with their free parking, as well as online shopping. But he dismissed the idea that free or cheaper parking being reintroduced into High Streets would revitalise them: "If it was that simple then people would have done it already." "The point is that the retail proposition in town centres has been overtaken by the more convenient out-of-town parks. The town centres should say 'let them have it'.

People who have followed this debate for-ever will realise that latter point is exactly what David Hughes was saying over and over to local traders (GLBA) a good decade since.

Looked at simply, with all else being pretty much stable, then opening up huge supermarkets (eg Sainsbury Winchmore Hill), enormous shopping centres (eg Westfield), retail parks (pick your own) and then a whole set of new internet shopping channels (mobile, tablet, laptop et al), traditional retail volume has to suffer – big time. It really was that obvious; the trick was to anticipate and plan for the inevitable change before being forced to do so. So it’s a huge shame that cycle lanes got the blame and all the necessary business attention instead. But give it another decade and I’m sure strategic reality will have caught up on that one too.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3948 04 Jul 2018 15:13
Spot on Karl.

Gimsey report in summary:

"Among 25 key recommendations, Grimsey’s taskforce calls for a new town centre commission to develop a 20-year strategy for local high streets, abolishing the business rates system and speed up ongoing digital transformation in smaller towns."

Great point about parking. Reinforced by the failed Mary Porter exercise - parking (more and cheaper/free) was a big part of her proposition. It proved to be utterly useless if the high street offer is still all wrong and an unpleasant place to be.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3956 05 Jul 2018 10:25
On the speeding up digital transformation theme, and specifically following one strand of the work recently highlighted in a presentation posted by Norris Morris, PG traders now have a quote from a UK award winning organisation in this field to help their cause. The price is small, particularly when shared amongst numerous outlets; call it half a lost cycling legal case, so let’s see what happens next.