A mini department store full of independent Kettering traders will open its doors next month.
The Bean Hive is taking on the old town centre Thorntons chocolate shop, which had been squatted and used as a drug den.
Its six main traders all met at The Yards and they hope to provide something different for Kettering’s High Street.
Owner Davina Parkhouse said: “You have got to offer something that’s an experience to compete with the likes of Amazon.
“We’re bringing something different to the High Street that will be a talking point.”
The unit has been completely transformed with several rooms over different floors that were not visible to shoppers before the £250,000 makeover.
Traders operating from The Bean Hive include Bean, which sells quirky gifts and cards influenced by the Grand Budapest Hotel, as well as American confectionary seller Randalls - described by Davina as the store’s “jewel in the crown”.
The other main retailers are Boon (fairtrade items from around the world, jewellery and handmade skincare products), Young Thinkers Guild (educational toys), Area 51 (vinyls) and Loop Thing (upcycled quirky clothing, hangers and art).
Boon and Area 51 will continue to sell some items from The Yards.
There will also be 10 craft areas and pop-up spaces for other retailers to sell products, as well as the store’s very own Bean Hive honey on offer.
With Kettering’s M&S closing last week Davina urged people not to give up on the town centre.
She said: “You can give up on somewhere or you can do something about it.
“It’s almost as if M&S leaving has put a rocket up some people and we’re giving people in Kettering something to be excited about.”
The store’s bright pink facade has already seen several shoppers show an interest in the project.
Paula Tee-Boon, joint project manager: “The Yards was a great place to start a business and the support we had was amazing.
“We’re really looking forward to being on the High Street and people walking past keep popping in to see what’s going on.”
The Bean Hive opens on September 1 and from October there will be a cookery school upstairs, as well as art classes and craft courses
Davina added that she hopes to hold an ‘independents day’ celebrating traders and what the town has to offer in the near future.