Pop-up shop is ‘just what Carrick needs’

The successful candidates were AM Weddings and Events, Bags and Bunting, Manna Cards, Orabel Art, The Shabbydashery, and VF Designs.  INCT 35-728-CON
The successful candidates were AM Weddings and Events, Bags and Bunting, Manna Cards, Orabel Art, The Shabbydashery, and VF Designs. INCT 35-728-CON

Calls have been made for the return of a pop-up enterprise in Carrickfergus following positive feedback from shoppers.

The TestTown retail space opened from August 27 to 31 at the former Suit premises in Joymount.

The initiative gave six small businesses from the area a valuable opportunity to test the market with their products, which included everything from contemporary cards to one-off pieces of art, occasion decor and homeware.

The successful local applicants included The Shabbydashery, VF Designs, Manna Cards, AM Weddings and Events, Bags and Bunting, and Orabel Art.

“[The scheme] helps us test the market and have an idea of what the best sellers are,” said Danielle Gault from Manna Cards.

“There should be more independent shops in Carrick - it’s the sort of thing that would encourage tourists to come over from the castle. They want to buy something that’s locally made and one-of-a-kind,” added Orabel Art’s Sharon Millar.

The response from shoppers was overwhelmingly positive during the first day of trading with many taking the time to add their comments to a feedback book.

“Brilliant idea - just what Carrick needs,” one wrote.

An Australian shopper added: “As a tourist I love seeing what the locals produce and wish I could take it all home with me.”

Meanwhile, there were suggestions of a similar enterprise for the festive season. “It would be brilliant to have this shop over Christmas for presents,” one visitor wrote.

Carrickfergus was selected during the summer as one of Carnegie Trust UK’s TestTown locations.

One local participant will be nominated to go forward to the national final, competing for the UK Towns Entrepreneur of the Year award and a £10K investment in their business.