Preston’s public have had their say on four new businesses in the city centre which should receive taxpayer backing.Advertisement
A board game cafe, a pulled meat bar, independent coffee shop and an interior design studio could soon be gracing Preston’s high street.
More than 3,500 votes were cast by Prestonians on which businesses from a longlist they wanted to win before the winners were picked by a judging panel.
Preston Business Improvement District chairman John Boydell said: “The calibre of entrants to this competition was very strong and the judges found it very difficult to pick their winners.
“There was a great response from the public who really got behind this competition and cast their votes for their favourite business.
“The level of support for each business showed just how well they had engaged with the public and helped the judges to decide which of the finalists had really captured people’s imaginations.
“Now we look forward to seeing these businesses thrive in our city centre, which continues to be a fantastic place for small independent traders to come and flourish.”
Preston City Council leader councillor Peter Rankin said: “It is a real pleasure to see these fledgling businesses moving forward now as a result of this competition.
“Preston city centre has a wonderful mixture of small independent businesses and national chains making our high street a great place for people to come and shop, dine and be entertained.
“I wish these four new businesses every success as they enter an exciting new chapter and hope their example will encourage others to follow in their wake.”
Each business gets £10,000 in grant funding, a £3,000 contribution to their business rates during their first year and a £3,250 contribution in year two.
A further £10,000 of in-kind contributions will be made to assist with services such as marketing and public relations.
The money comes from the city council’s funding from central government aimed at helping stimulate the city centre.
It follows Preston being named earlier this year as the unhealthiest high street in Britain.
The Striped Pig Pulled Meat Bar and Coffee Shop
Owned by brothers John and William Walne they already cater for public and private events in the area. They now want to develop a chain of businesses across the North West.
John Walne said: “Specialising in hog roasting and outdoor events, our aim is to bring our own unique brand of quality catering and hospitality on to the high street in our home city.
“With years of catering experience, we believe the key to success is to offer quality uncomplicated foods and service.”
The Ham and Jam coffee shop
Recently granted planning permission to convert a listed building in Lancaster Road into a coffee shop.
Owner Richard Lowthian said: “Ham & Jam are absolutely delighted about winning this competition. The judging panel really put us through a very tough interview process back in May with some very tough probing questions on our business plan and proposals.
“The financial package that we have won will enable us to ensure Ham & Jam is established as ‘a welcome retreat from a busy life’. We would also like to thank the Preston public for taking the time to vote for us in the competition. We can now concentrate on ensuring we get the refurbishment works completed and get Ham & Jam up and running.”
Alisa Bowen’s interior design firm has outgrown her home office and she wants a city centre presence.
She said: “Our vision for our city presence is to provide a personal and professional service offering quality products, expert advice and an interior design service ensuring a pleasant experience taking out the stress out of decorating a home.
“From our creative studio offices, we will work on residential and commercial projects, from their conception to completion, offering unique design solutions as well as providing a quality 3D Visualisation service. The studio will also facilitate a boardroom, creating an ideal meeting location in the heart of Preston.”
Dice and Donuts
Amelia Lavelle said she’d be serving food and drinks while families enjoyed a board game – while turning into a bar at night.
She said: “Over the next two years I aim to create a stronger passion for tabletop gaming in Preston, with regular organised play, along with a welcoming venue for old and new gamers alike.
“Initially starting with a simple menu and growing with customer requests and demands over the following 24 months, we aim to be a licensed venue within the first 12 months offering a selection of craft beers and other premium alcoholic beverages.”
What do you think of the winners? Will you be visiting any? Let us know in the comments below