Win a Shop finalists impress judges
PUBLISHED: 08:00 26 March 2015 | UPDATED: 09:44 26 March 2015
AN IMPRESSIVE list of entrepreneurs wowed judges with their ideas to bring an exciting new business onto Nailsea’s high street.
The judging panel for Crown Glass Shopping Centre’s Win a Shop competition saw presentations from five shortlisted candidates on March 17 and members now have the difficult task of picking a winner from the talented entrants.
The five hopefuls attended a Dragons’ Den style interview with Mark Robinson from Ellandi, town centre manager Charlotte Jarrett, town council clerk Ian Morrell and Times reporter Vicky Angear.
Charlotte said: “We already have one very strong store in Ewe Knit 20, which came from the previous ‘Win a Shop’ competition and we hope that one of these excellent propositions will also become a long-term part of our trading community.
“We would like to thank these entrepreneurs and all those who entered for their effort, imagination and enthusiasm – these were not just dreamers looking for a way to get into retail but hard-headed business people who combined a passion for their project with some well thought out business plans.”
First to face the dragons was Claire Davis of Queenie’s Flower Shop.
Claire, from Dundry, would offer fairky-traded and locally-grown flowers alongside up-cycled curiosities and would also be able to cater for events and put on flower arrangement workshops.
Claire ran a pop-up shop in the centre for seven weeks before Christmas and has already built up a loyal customer base.
The second proposal under the spotlight was pitched by impressive duo Ivan Guevara and Nigel Hammond who wanted to set up Express Print in the unit.
The businessmen provide print, design and promotional material as well as t-shirt, mug and canvas printing with an emphasis on customer care.
Dipping into a deceptively spacious bag, Jennifer Smith from Bristol filled the shop with attractive sensory equipment to illustrate the aim of her business model.
Jennifer wants to provide a central location for parents and carers to take their children to relax and try out different sensory equipment and access a wide range of peer support and expert advice.
Jennifer is currently running a similar space in Brislington but wanted to provide a facility in Nailsea for the number of people from the area who travel to Bristol to access the services she offers.
Ambitious friends Lorna Dukes and Melina Snell from Backwell were next to bowl the judges over with their innovative idea to set up a play café.
The women, who are both teachers and have young children, discussed their ideas to open Young Possum’s Imaginarium to provide a stimulating place for children to play and learn with wooden toys, puppets, books and crafts while parents and carers enjoy some refreshments and a chat.
The café would also serve health snacks for children and locally made light lunches.
They also have plans to make the café available for groups including breastfeeding clubs, baby massage and sign language classes, and running private parties at the weekend.
Last to pitch her idea was Summer Sandy from Clevedon – a teenager who has spotted a gap in the market for local geeks with a passion for superhero films, video games, sci-fi shows and comic books.
Pixelation would provide a haven for fellow fans to pick up the latest releases, comic books, video games, memorabilia and toys.
Sandy suggested running comic book writing classes, holding group games sessions and giving people a safe place to enjoy their hobbies.
The dragons are now comparing notes ready to announce the lucky winner next week.
Mark Robinson from Ellandi, the shopping centre landlord, said: “Though it was a repeat of the project two years ago, this year’s ideas were even more unusual - and everyone of these would bring something new and unique to Nailsea, highlighting the type of variety that we very much want to provide our shoppers.”
The prize-winner will be given 15 Colliers Walk free of rent and rates for a year as well as advice from financial and legal experts.
The new shop is due to open in early summer. Tell us which business you think should win at www.northsomersettimes.co.uk or by commenting on our Facebook page.
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