Independent furniture retailer expands with shopping centre launch

An independent furniture store is more than doubling its space in the Pavilion Shopping Centre in Thornaby less than a year after opening.

Sharon Dunn, owner of Simply Furnishing, relocated from Blackhall to Microshops, the retail space for start-up retailers who do not want to commit to a bricks and mortar space, in May 2022.

After taking one retail pod, she expanded to three to cope with the demand from shoppers – and has now decided to take on her first store in the shopping centre.

It means she can expand her range after agreeing a two-year lease for unit 1, Vale House, a 2,057sqft shop in the centre.

Sharon said: “Having been in furniture retail for many years I decided to relocate from a village store to the Pavilion, starting up in a small way to test the water.

“It was a positive start, but not liking to stand still for long, I decided to expand to three pods. Business was ticking along nicely and wanting to progress further, I decided to open a full store to myself. I am thrilled to be opening and it promises to be exciting times ahead. Microshops was a great opportunity to start what has become a thriving business.”

Martin Wade, Associate Director at LCP, said: “This is exactly the kind of success we love to see at Microshops. The smaller format market concept works to provide retailers with a great opportunity to offer their services to a larger audience being based within the Pavilion Shopping centre seven days a week. The ability for the tenants to grow their business is massive and Sharon is a prime example of that.

“We’re thrilled to see how Sharon’s business has thrived at the Pavilion in the past ten months, both us and the tenant believe this is the right time to progress into an inline unit within the shopping centre. We wish her continued success.”

Rakesh Joshi, Lettings Director at LCP, the commercial property and investment company that owns and manages the centre, added: “Microshops was launched to enable traders like Sharon get a strong business footing and then build on their success. This is being replicated at other Microshops locations across the country.”

The Pavilion Shopping Centre comprises about 270,000sqft of retail and office accommodation and is anchored by a 100,000sqft Asda at its southern end and a 17,500sqft Lidl at its northern end.

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