Preston Guild Merchant: Which new city centre businesses deserve the funding?

Posted on - 6th April, 2015 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, Preston City Centre, Preston News
Life's Little Larks is one of the businesses in the running

Life’s Little Larks is one of the businesses in the running

Eleven start-up businesses in Preston city centre are battling for votes in a bid to win £23,000.


The Guild Merchant competition sees five Prestonians get their chance to win funding and set up their new retail business.

From a micro brewery to a board game cafe these are just two of the diverse range of business ideas for the city.

Below is a full run down of the eleven ideas and then head over to the Guild Merchant website to vote for your favourite.

Voting ends on April 30 2015 at 5pm. The winners are due to be announced in June.

Business 1: Ham and Jam Coffee Shop, Richard Lowthian

Remember visiting Preston when you were little? The bustling market, wandering around the Harris? Visiting local shops? Then being treated to a Knicker Bocker Glory? Remember that feeling? Ham & Jam Coffee Shop will bring it back!

We will put a smile back on 50-52 Lancaster Road! By upgrading a Grade II listed building (empty for six years), it will offer excellent food and drink utilising local suppliers and a fantastic meeting space.

We are excited about the regeneration of Preston, including the Market and Guild Hall and want to be part of this!

We have worked with UCLan in developing our business plan. We are working with two new Preston businesses set up by talented UCLAN graduates. ( and ). Local suppliers will provide quality and affordable produce, including &

We will promote local events, arts and talent and continue to breathe cultural life into our unique city!

Business 2: Striped Pig Meat Bar and Coffee Shop, William Walne and John Walne

We are expert meat roasters and offer a fine sandwich selection using quality freshly roasted meats both pulled and carved with fresh salads and coleslaws. In addition daily freshly made soups and free range local egg quiches and omelettes healthy vegetarian options using our special pulled roast vegetables in wraps, salads and freshly baked breads, handcrafted cakes, biscuits and cookies… Served alongside a fine selection of coffees, teas, waters, minerals, smoothies and health drinks.

We also offer a range of gourmet designer pulled meat and vegetable ready meals to go, and offer off sight catering services book able within the shop throughout the Preston area. This is real food – not synthetic – served with real flare and imagination and as importantly a love for the very best of our region…Preston, the Red Rose County.

Business 3: Child friendly cafe, Lisa Jones

I would to run a child friendly and pram friendly cafe, where parents/carers can bring there children for lunch and let them have a play while adults chat.

Most cafes these days try to be chip friendly but you either need to go in a lift, usually only holding two at a time. Or, they don’t have bottle warming facilities.

I have 4boys ages 17,11,9 and 9. It was extremely hard work trying to find somewhere to eat with space for often a double and twin pram.

This cafe would have a small play area, mainly for young ones. Plenty of space for a pram park so prams aren’t a danger. Fresh food suitable for all ages and affordability. I would also like to encourage new small entrupeners to show off gift ideas for parents to purchase or order.

All would be on one floor close to bus station and car parks. This idea would encourage more families to come and shop in Preston city centre rather than use retail parks and attract families from outside Preston.

This has been my idea to do for many years but have never been able to afford to do it.

Business 4: Priest Town Brewing, Ian Stezaker

My intention is to set up a micro-brewery – Priest Town Brewing – once a local base for my products is established the longer term plan is to add a brewery/pub right in the heart of Preston. Priest Town Brewing will brew local beer for local people. I intend it to be very Preston centric, hence the company name, and the initial beers to be brewed and sold include Ribbleton Red, Harris Stout, Livesey’s Lager and Addison’s Ale

Business 5: Dice & Donuts, Amelia Lavelle

Board game cafes are opening all over the world to cater to hungry gamers.

A board game cafe isn’t quite like other cafes or bars. While coffee, cakes & snacks, and the possible beer are on the menu, it’s the vast collection of modern board games that’s more important to its customers.

Board game cafes provide these games, and the space to play to for a small cover fee, and offer refreshments to players.

Dice & Donuts would not be the first board gaming cafe. (London’s first board game cafe, Draughts opened in August 2014, and raised over £20,000 in advance bookings and sales, while Thirsty Meeples in Oxford, who have been trading for over a year, see over 1,000 visitors a week. Snakes & Lattes, the first board game cafe, located in Canada, has quadrupled in size since its 2010 opening, and has opened a second venue in their home city. ) It would, however, be the first in North West England.

Preston has a thriving cafe culture alongside a large tabletop gaming community, Dice and Donuts would bring these together. Offering quality food and beverages with a wide selection of games, Dice & Donuts would cater for families, students and mature gamers, with prices affordable prices.

Opening from lunchtime to late evening, it would offer a unique experience in Preston’s growing “after hours” culture.

Business 6: Window Blinds Shop, Sarah Walmsley

I would love to open a Window Blinds Shop in Preston City Centre. I have been involved with Interiors in various ways for over 15 years and feel this is a perfect opportunity to open a shop and have a base in a City I am passionate about. I have experience of providing Blinds as a hobby but it is now at a stage where I want to launch as an official company and shop. I have links with some of the best manufacturers in the UK and would have their support in developing a great service, there is currently not a Window Blinds Company in Preston City Centre and feel as there is a carpet shop this would go hand in hand to lend itself to Preston City Centre being the place to go to fit out your Home Interiors. I would also like to offer the opportunity for independent creatives of Preston City to sell/display their goods within the Blinds shop as this would offer a diverse range of goods to compliment the window dressings.

Business 7: Interior design business, Alisa Bowen

I intend to expand my interior design business which is currently based at home to a location in Preston town centre. It will become a design studio facilitating space for more staff as well as a showroom displaying uniquely sourced products not available on the high street. The space will also have a conference room facility which other business can rent out for business meeting in the town centre. The future plans of the business will include to grow into an art gallery space with an adjacent coffee shop as well as a design showroom and studios. Bringing together art, design and business, this space will create a pleasant experience for its visitors and can be used for local networking groups and art events to enhance the culture and creative vibe in the town centre, with the perfect location in mind of the beautiful Miller Arcade.

Business 8: Life’s Little Larks, Helena Clarkson and Elaine Clarkson

At Life’s Little Larks our main idea is to support independent artists, crafters and designers by providing a space for them to display and sell their work. We aim to provide them with a platform no matter what stage they may be at in their career.

We are a fledgling business but are quite new to the city centre situated in Glovers Court.

Currently hosting nearly 70 makers. We would love to offer more; including workshops meaning we could open up to a wider community.

We have a genuine passion for art,crafts and design. There is so much talent out there! Especially in Preston! and we would love to help put the ‘art and soul’ back in the City.

Business 9: Creative hub, Donna Dorning and Chris Dorning

To build a creative hub in the City Centre to provide, inspire and teach.

We would sell creative necessities such as unique stationary, art equipment, fabric/haberdashery and home wares that we would sell alongside fresh coffee and fresh artisan breads.

Running regular life drawing/art classes and sewing workshops as well as providing exhibition space for local artists and students. Our focus will be providing the people of Preston with a creative and social space to share ideas, make new friends and take home useful/beautiful objects

Business 10: Retail hub, Claire Wilkinson

I want to create a retail ‘hub’ where new, independent brands can sell and promote their products, including; accessories, jewellery, clothing, art and photography.

The hub will provide an opportunity for emerging start-ups who would not usually be able to sell their products on the high street and promote enterprising activity such as support with branding, finance and marketing / promotion. With the aim to give start-ups a springboard to succeed, so that they can continue to run a successful business once they have moved out of the hub space, whether that is online, through pop-up stores or renting.

Within the hub there would also be space for social retail, where customers can try on items and take pictures which could be uploaded to their social media platforms. This would enhance the customer experience and allow our customers take ownership of the new space, which is key for engaging with the 16-28 generation. It would also be possible that the hub could host blogger events and other business and / or fashion related courses or workshops.

Business 11: Home and gifts emporium, Jane Deakin

A unique home and gift emporium, nostalgically themed with personal touches and impeccable personalised service.

Our service is a combination of today’s efficiency combined with yesteryear’s friendly welcome.

Our stock is from around the globe without astronomical price tags and it’s all chosen just for you.

The gift emporium has a unique style and sources goods which are not typically available ‘everywhere’. With customers around the world who receive great service from us, we learn your name, your likes, dislikes and go the extra mile to provide a bespoke service, including free local delivery within Preston City.

Preston needs dedicated, hard-working local businesses to serve our community. My passion for providing great service means that one family recently spent a weekend in Preston just to visit my new shop, they spent money in hotels, restaurants and other local businesses too. I want to see this happen in Preston for everyone, we all live here and want it to improve, so let’s make it happen!

Who gets your vote? Who do you think has the best idea? Let us know in the comments below

Preston in pictures The Station, Preston. 1539Adelphi quarter , preston , 23.06.2022St Walburge's Church, preston 23.06.2022Former Tithebarn pub and Preston Bus StationHarris Museum and Art GalleryRed telephone boxesRed telephone box on Market StreetPreston 2022 View more Advertisement Subscribe to the newsletter

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