A former department store has been brought back to life with more than 20 independent retailers setting up shop there.
Customers were first welcomed through the doors of Newton Hall in Rushden High Street at the end of February, but the official opening took place on St George’s Day to showcase what’s on offer.
The building, formerly the Wills department store, now has more than 20 independent retailers who have set up shop there. Shanti Mistry came up with the idea for Newton Hall, and he said the response from customers has been very positive so far.
He said: “I liken Newton Hall to a local independent department store where local businesses can provide great products and services for the community.
“Our customers tell us it’s exactly what Rushden has needed for some time.”
The launch event offered customers the chance to find out more about the products and services available, meet the people behind the businesses and enjoy refreshments and entertainment.
Mr Mistry added: “We are so proud of what we have started here in Rushden and want to tell as many people as possible. The best way to do this is to invite the community in to meet the retailers and find out why it’s great to shop here.”
Mr Mistry hopes the opening of Newton Hall can bring a range of products and services to people in the town. He wants to offer local quality produce and outstanding personal service, as well as give local entrepreneurs the chance to trade in a prime location at affordable rates.
He added: “It is also unique in offering property owners a different approach to leasing large units that otherwise would have limited appeal and be unaffordable to anyone other than major chains.”
Mr Mistry said he hopes customers who are interested in shopping locally for quality products will like what Newton Hall has to offer, and will then tell others about it.
He said: “These customers will become our ambassadors as they proudly spread the word about our business to their friends and family.”
Wills was a family-run department store which had traded in Rushden since the 1920s, but it was forced to close its doors to customers in the summer of 2010 due to falling sales. The opening of Newton Hall was welcomed by Rushden Town Partnership earlier this year.
There has also been support from Rushden Town Council, which gave a grant of £500 to help with the redecoration of the outside of the shop as part of the council’s shop fronts grants scheme.