Friday, 10 September 2010

New business for Old Town

Margate Old Town is now home to three new businesses, thanks to Business Support Grants from Thanet District Council.

The grants of up to £2,500 were available, thanks to government funding, to people who wanted to set up new businesses or move into vacant shops in the centres of either Margate or Ramsgate.

Council officers received a number of enquiries, but only seven applications in total. Of these, five businesses were successful, four in Margate and one in Ramsgate. Three of them, a shop, bar and art gallery, are now open and trading in Margate Old Town.

The money was available to people who wanted to set up in a shop, which had been empty for at least a month. They had to be open to the public and have a sound business plan. The grants can be used to fund a number of different things, including fitting out, cleaning and decorating the premises and buying assets, such as equipment.

The first, Blackbird, is a new shop selling contemporary craft, handmade gifts, stationary and artwork. They promote the work of established and emerging makers, designers, illustrators and crafts people. A combined shop space and workshop studios, Blackbird offers people the chance to be creative and learn new skills in their craft workshops.

The Lifeboat Ale and Cider House serves local ale, cider and perry, together with a selection of chateau bottled French wine. Outside the Square is an art gallery, with more than 200 exhibits from artists located in 16 different countries all around the world. Visitors can see original art not available anywhere else in the UK.

Cllr. Roger Latchford, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “The opening of these three new shops in Margate’s Old Town is a good step forward, bringing three more previously vacant properties back into use. It’s a shame that we haven’t had more people applying for this funding, but in the current economic climate, it is understandable. We look forward to seeing the other two businesses opening up in Margate and Ramsgate. I can assure residents that the money given to us by the government will still be spent and will go towards improving opportunities for town centre retail trade.”

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