Businesses Receive £1,000 Welcome For Setting Up In Town Centre Empty Shops

THREE new businesses have opened in Long Eaton and Ilkeston after being given a helping hand through a scheme to bring empty shops back into use.

The £1,000 Golden Hello grant helps businesses move into empty retail premises in the centres of Ilkeston, Long Eaton and Sandiacre.

The regeneration scheme is run by enterprise agency Erewash Partnership, which manages the scheme on behalf of Erewash Borough Council.

Successful applicants have received £500 as an incentive and will get a similar amount after 10 weeks of trading.

Sam Bailey has opened Lilly B's coffee shop and takeaway on Derby Road, Long Eaton. She sells freshly-ground coffee from a Brazilian microgrower, sandwiches, snacks and takeway breakfasts. Cakes are freshly made on the premises.

Sam has been a chef/pastry chef for 17 years working in Greece and Nottingham.

“I have always wanted to open my own business selling home-made cakes,” she said. “The family have always encouraged it and I named the premises after my nan who died last year and was a great inspiration to me.”

She is being helped by a relative at the shop, but is looking to recruit, including a delivery driver.

Sam has used her grant for fitting and equipping the premises which used to have just a takeaway counter but can now seat 14 people.

Further along Derby Road, near The Green, David Anning opened 2 Wheels Better, having previously run a mobile bike repair business.

“The shop became available in a good location at a decent rent and I saw it as an attractive opportunity,” he said.

David has been in the trade for 20 years. He now sells new bikes as well as a range of accessories from the shop.

He has spent his grant on renovating the shop, a former estate agent's office, and making it more attractive to customers ready for when the cycling season takes off in the Spring.

David is also currently being helped by family and friends, but hopes to take on an apprentice.

“The Golden Hello is a good scheme which has been a massive help. It's also been a quick and easy process,” he said.

Casey Foster-Miles, who is a partner in Deakin & White, has opened a traditional barber's at Queen Street, Ilkeston, in what used to be a dance clothing shop. He has already employed an assistant. He used the grant for signage and equipment.

Casey, who has been in the trade for 10 years, said: “The scheme has been a great help.”

The partners have another barber's shop on Derby Road, Long Eaton, which has been open for seven years and employs four people there.

Councillor Geoff Smith, council lead member for planning and regeneration, is pleased with the scheme's success. It has now approved 39 applications, with 82% of businesses still trading since 2010.

“I am delighted at the continued success of this scheme, both in helping individuals achieve their dreams and also breathing new life into empty premises,” he said.

“This latest batch shows show yet again how varied the applicants and the business ideas that they want to pursue are and I wish them all the best.”

Grants are still available for businesses that wants to move into the area or move and take on empty premises.