TEN small businesses have been given their first foot up in Croydon town centre this week. They form part of Croydon Emporium, a pop-up business centre backed by Croydon Council and opened in two previously empty shop premises in Church Street on Wednesday. The centre is being funded through the council's retail support programme, with help from the Mayor of London's regeneration fund. Businesses operating from the centre include fashion outlets, embroidery printing, artwork and framing and a cafe. Initially the businesses have been given leases which last until October with a possibility of another three-month extension. Cida Morrison, who runs Primavera Fitness which sells women's sportswear, said: "I run an online business but this gives customers who want to come along to test the quality of the goods the chance to do that. "I have run pop-up shops in the past but this is the first time I have traded in Croydon. "It is great chance to test the market and if the business takes off here I will definitely look at the idea of taking on an empty shop in another part of the town." Ms Morrison is already looking to expand her offer within the centre by running samba and yoga classes in a spare place next to her pitch. Gokmen Aray, said the centre gave him an ideal opportunity to expand his Penge-based UR-iD business into Croydon. The business offers custom embroidery and printing on caps, T-shirts or other items of clothing. Mr Aray said: "Customers can either bring their own items or buy them from here. "This business is going to be run by my son, who found out about the centre and thought it would be a good idea to move into Croydon. "The centre gives us a chance to see whether the idea works." Councillor Toni Letts, cabinet member for economic development, said: "Bringing vacant shops back into use is a vital part of the work we are doing to breathe new life into our high streets."
More Pages to Explore .....