Send us news by text, start your message Star News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Galleries shopping zone paints a rosy picture for Duke Street
2:26pm Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in News
A NEW shopping hub has opened in St Helens town centre to give entrepreneurs a place to fulfil their dreams of launching a business.
Up to £50,000 of investment by Hyland Estates has transformed a former Duke Street furniture store into The Galleries.
The shopping arcade houses a range of units, including a chocolate shop, cafe, a hairdressers designed for parents and tots and a baby clothes store.
The development strengthens the independent trader sector and adds a further boost to Duke Street, which has benefitted from an upgraded Ena Shaw and the regeneration of the Oxford Building.
Craig Hyland, who welcomed Saints hooker James Roby for Galleries’ official opening, said: “We have 18 stalls in there and just three are empty.
“It’s good for the road to get new businesses here – I think this building had been empty for nearly two years. We charge £85 a week for the traders and they get electricity rates and bills as part of that.
“It gives them a really good platform to get started and because the stalls are independent shoppers get something a little different and affordable.”
Among the stall holders is Danny Vermylen, 61, who travelled the world as a computer engineer, and has set up the Taste of Belgium chocolate shop.
Mr Vermylen, a former footballer in the Belgian lower leagues, settled in St Helens after meeting his partner, Pricilia Finn.
He said: “My jobs took me around 95 countries but now I’m here in St Helens I wanted to try something different.
“I wanted it to be something with a Belgium theme – and what better than chocolates.”
Among the other traders are Tony Hosty and Emma Stuart, who have set up family-friendly hair salon Louise James.T
Tony said: “We believe what we are doing is unique around here. We are trying to be as family friendly as possible.
“We’ve specialist cutting chairs for a children, part of the salon is also a crèche so mums can come along with their tots. We also have a professional hairdressing area.”
Valerie Fullagar has set up baby clothes shop Precious Angels.
The 49-year-old from Sutton Manor had been working in an NHS administrative role for 10 months but decided to take the plunge into business ownership after seeing the Galleries’ space advertised.
She said: “We’re nervous and excited at starting up. A lot of the baby shops in St Helens have closed and people are relying on the supermarkets.
“We hope to offer the personal touch, for instance I make the ‘nappy cakes’ containing gifts that people buy as gifts for newborns.”
Family-run business Hyland Estates has relocated on Duke Street, next to The Galleries, as part of the development.
Comments are closed on this article.