Are Microshops the way forward for the town centre?

Front of Microshops

Microshops in Ipswich has many independent businesses inside. - Credit: Tom Cann

Some of the businesses in Ipswich's Microshops outlet fear the location is the wrong place for start-ups because of lack of footfall.

The town's high street has seen many closures of big brand shops over the past couple of years, and new ways of attracting shoppers are being tried.

Microshops in Carr Street is made up of multiple independent small businesses ranging from massages to American Candy. 

The owners says they are a great way for people to start their business and gain new customers they wouldn’t have previously reached online - but some say it's the wrong location

Bridie Burn, owner of The Nerd Hut, said: “I’m 24, I started the business online two years ago and since starting the shop I’ve noticed an improvement in sales."

When talking about whether these shops could potentially be the future for towns and cities, Miss Burn said: “I’ve always been an advocate in revitalising the town centre and bringing people back to it. 

Bridie Burn in her new shop 'The Nerd Hut', which is in the new Microshops market in Ipswich.

Bridie Burn in her new shop The Nerd Hut, which is in the new Microshops market in Ipswich. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown/Archant

“People are definitely more into the independents and start-ups now; people want to support their neighbours and local rather than the big brands. 

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“I think things like Microshops, where people get that start, is our way of bringing people back to the town centre in a way that people love and enjoy.” 

While these shops offer entrepreneurs the chance to start their own businesses, there is concern that in Ipswich they are in the wrong location. 

Junior Ngoma, owner of JR's American Candy said: “Where we are here, there are hardly any people. You’ve got Sports Direct closing down, they are relocating (to the Butter Market). What happens if Poundland or B&M closes? Then we will be out here on our own.

Junior Ngoma standing in front of logo for his business

Junior Ngoma, owner of JR's American Candy is worried about the location of Microshops Ipswich. - Credit: Tom Cann

“Microshops is the way forward for a lot of towns and cities. This is the first one in Suffolk. However, what they should have done, is put us closer to the centre where there is more traffic footfall.” 

Priscilla Pinheiro, owner of Juice Mix Bar said: “I think the Microshops idea is to give the opportunity for new entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and see if they can get busy enough to move onto the high street. 

“The problem with here is that there is not much advertising. The public don’t know that we are here.”