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Pop-up shop team has lots more in mind

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: September 28, 2013

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PENZANCE'S pop-up shop experiment has worked and will be repeated in the near future, say its organisers.

The Pop Up Penzance team is preparing a new programme of events and projects in the run-up to Christmas.

The pop-up shop at the former Stead & Simpson store closed on Saturday, a week later than planned, as artist Billy Burman requested another week there – and the town's other pop-upper, Mousehole Fish in Crouse Corner, has asked to stay an extra month.

"Both shops have exceeded our expectations and have shown how useful it is to have time on the high street for a small business testing the market," said Pop Up Penzance's Maria McKewen.

"We really hope this proves a good springboard for some of our small businesses to take a longer lease on a high-street property and we believe that the more small, independent shops we have, the more interesting the town is."

Last night the group held a public meeting at the Exchange Gallery for potential pop-uppers to discuss ideas and their needs for the next wave, which will open in the run-up to Christmas.

"We have various ideas for enticing more people to shop in Penzance, one of which is some kind of Christmas grotto," said Ms McKewen. "We're currently talking to artists and storytellers and cooking up ideas.

"We've also been granted funding by [arts funder] FEAST to put on a mini-film festival in the half-term week of October 29 in one of the empty shops."

As well as screenings of Cornish-made short films, it would include chances to chat to film-makers about the industry in Cornwall and workshops with people such as Denzil Monk from Dogbite Film Studio and Tiffany Holmes, director of the Cornwall Film Festival.

Maria said she was keen to reassure people that the pop-up shop project was not over: "We'd like the public to understand that we haven't gone away when the shop closes, but this is the nature of pop-up shops; they come and go," she said.

"We can't afford to have a shop open if it isn't occupied as we're presently liable for full rates, which on a shop the size of Stead & Simpson is more than £300 per week."

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