Entrepreneurs and small business owners are being invited to take part in a new pop-up shop scheme, which will run in Forres and other Moray towns until January 2023.
Start-up businesses are being offered the chance to use currently empty shops for up to four weeks at no cost, other than utilities.
Pop-up shops will be made available in Forres as well as Keith, Elgin, Buckie, Lossiemouth, Dufftown and Aberlour, subject to suitable premises being available.
The scheme is part of Moray’s wider Economic Recovery Plan and has been developed in response to an increase in vacant retail units within town centres and the number of new start-up businesses in the area.
The initiative follows the previously successful pop-up scheme in Keith, which saw the town’s Mid Street Conservation Area move from the highest shop vacancy rate in Moray to the lowest.
It is understood Moray Council is negotiating with owners of empty shops to make them available for this scheme.
Forres currently has two independently-run pop-up shops open for the festive season – Forres Crafters in the Tolbooth, and the nearby Festive Mini Market run by the Findhorn Bay Arts at 86 High Street.
Both are very popular in the run-up to Christmas and open at times throughout the year.
This council scheme would add another shop to the ‘pop-up scene’ in Forres.
The scheme will allow current or would-be business owners the opportunity to trial their merchandise, get a new business off the ground, or target a different audience to see if it’s viable for them to have a full-time presence within a town.
Chair of Moray Council’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, said: “Pop-up shops provide an ideal platform for businesses to try out a physical high street presence and raise the profile of their business before committing to anything long-term.
“The scheme is equally beneficial for property owners as it brings their empty properties back into use and may lead to a longer-term lease/sale – a win-win situation for all involved.
“As our town centres continue to face challenging times, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and changing shopping habits, it’s important to help small or independent businesses develop and thrive. I look forward to seeing more of our local businesses overcome some of the issues facing them while bringing more shoppers into town centres.”
For more information, guidance and an Expression of Interest form email email@example.com.