It’s a tiny city centre shop currently selling T-shirts made round the back of Devonshire Green, and it shuts today.
But Felicity Hoy reckons this little outlet, nestled in the Winter Garden, might just be the start of a retail revolution. Literally.
It is Sheffield’s first ever revolving store.
The shop – where Fancie used to be – will be transformed every two weeks through 2014. A different city business will take it over, sell their self-made wares for a fortnight, and then shut for a new trader to move in the next day.
Everything from crockery and pottery produced in Sharrow to chocolate made in Hunter’s Bar will be available at different points. The last two weeks it has been run by a clothes company called Yorkshire Tee. Before that it was actually stocking Yorkshire tea – loose leaf drinks mixed by a Halfway-based mother and daughter.
And if the idea of a constantly swapping shop works, Sheffield City Council has already expressed an interest in doing something similar with four empty units in Chapel Walk.
“This is a way of supporting independent businesses, while breathing life into our city,” says Felicity, whose not-for-profit company Common People is co-ordinating the scheme. “There are so many creative people in Sheffield producing amazing goods – from homewares to flower arrangements. But they sell mainly online because it’s so difficult to get a foothold in a city centre where the overheads are so high.
“With a temporary shop they can experiment to see if a permanent store might work.”
It’s good, she adds, for everyone. The businesses, of course, get to try life in an affordable prime site store. The city gets rid of its empty shops and us, the consumer, get to browse a place full of interesting stuff.
The Winter Garden unit has already got tenants booked until May. Once Yorkshire Tee moves out today, florists Of The Wild will move in. After that, there’s Invent Clothing, based in Bradway, and Martha and Hepsie homeware, from Hunter’s Bar, to come,
And Birdhouse Tea, that mother and daughter duo, who have already been there reckon indie traders would be mugs not to get involved.
“It’s really helped get our name out,” says founder Rebecca English. “When you’re online it’s a complete word-of-mouth thing but actually having a place in the city centre brings you a lot of extra attention.”