Ten more shops filled in Gloucester as independents turn attention to city's streets
EMPTY shops are filling up in Gloucester city centre as independent traders flock to the city.
A once gloomy picture of 48 empty units in the city centre back in May has been turned around, council bosses have said.
The city now has 38 empty units to its name and work is continuing to get these filled.
Both cash and advice from Gloucester City Council has helped to get businesses up and running.
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Georgie Smyth, manager at the Coffee Cup, a newly-opened coffee shop on Westgate Street, was helped to get her business up and running.
She said: "Here is a great place to do business. I found that in Gloucester there is more support available, more grants for getting your business up and running.
"Gloucester is trying to regenerate itself and it is nice to be a part of that."
A shop neighbouring Ms Smyth's business is also offering start-up traders a space on their shop floor for as little as £150 per week.
Businesswoman Kris Bhatt's new shop The Studio allows creative and craft traders to get a foot on the ladder.
Meanwhile, Gloucester City Council has helped 46 businesses, providing 140 jobs. That figure includes 17 start-up businesses.
The Gloucester Supports Business scheme provides help with rents, business rates or structural alterations for businesses moving, relocating or starting up in the city centre.
Council leader Paul James said: "We operate a dual approach to the regeneration and economy of the city. In the past several years a total of £700million has been invested or committed to major projects across Gloucester.
"At the same time we have worked very hard to support small and medium sized businesses with practical financial help and advice.
"It is critical that we support both ends of the spectrum in this way to ensure a balanced and viable economy. Developers and investors are showing faith in our approach and the Government has cited us as an example of best practice and backed that up with additional funding to support the work we are doing.
"There are currently more than 100 independent traders operating in the city centre. That's fantastic and we want to continue to see that increase in the future."
Owners of Miss Silver, in Commercial Road, Greg and Sylvia Piontek, are now looking to open their second shop.
Greg said: "It is good that they are filling up but the rents and rates are often too high for some people.
"We looked at premises in King's Walk Shopping Centre but had no luck.
"If the council can give any sort of advice and incentive to new business owners it would really help them out.
"The council need to delegate people out on the streets to talk to business owners."
To find out about more the city council's business grants call 01452 396986 or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org