An empty shop in Hailsham has been given a new lease of life with a ‘virtual’ window display to help make the town centre more visually appealing.
The display is part of a town revitalisation scheme, organised by Hailsham Forward, to target empty properties and reduce the negative impact of empty shops.
It was agreed the vinyl shop front display be produced to provide the former Sovereign Meats premises in Vicarage Fields, with a vibrant, restaurant-themed façade frontage.
The vinyl shop is the first of its kind in Hailsham and was funded by Hailsham Town Council and the Hailsham and District Chamber of Commerce.
The idea to design the shop frontage was put forward after residents completed a survey by Hailsham Forward at its pop-up shop information centre.
The survey showed residents wanted the group to make visual improvements to the town centre and help attract investment into the town.
There are currently 21 empty retail units in Hailsham.
Mickey Caira, Business Enterprise Manager at Hailsham Town Council, said the virtual shop will help to improve the image of the town centre.
He also urged businesses to come forward if they wish to sponsor a front window and help improve the town centre.
He said: “The ultimate aim of Hailsham Forward is to see all the empty units filled with a mix of national and smaller independent businesses and whilst this new virtual shop is not a real one, it will help to improve the image of the town centre.
“If any businesses wish to sponsor a virtual shop then please contact Hailsham Forward via the town council.”
Hailsham Forward chairman Paul Soane said the window display would bring postivity back to the High Street.
He said the virtual shop fronts would also provide information about how people can rent the property.
He said: “In the current economic climate, this short-term fix, which has proven cost effective and viable in many towns across the country, is being implemented to improve the image of the town, bring positivity back to the high street and increase civic pride in the process.
“The virtual shop front display will also provide the relevant information to those interested in purchasing or renting the property.”
Hailsham Forward is seeking sponsorship for the production of additional virtual shop fronts to roll out to other vacant units.
The group said it would be looking at other shop fronts in the High Street, George Street and Vicarage Field in the near future.
If you are interested in finding out more about Hailsham Forward, or would like to sponsor a shop window display in the town centre, contact Mickey Caira on 01323 841702.
You can also visit the website www.hailshamforward.co.uk to learn more about the Hailsham Forward Partnership, born out of the Mary Portas scheme to rejuvinate Britain’s High Streets.