There is just one empty unit remaining in Bedford’s Old Arcade as three unique new independent shops are opening there in the next two weeks.
From up-cycled furniture, ironmongery and gifts, these independent shops are filling up the Arcade, offering unique products and experiences.
“There is an air of confidence in Bedford,” said retail expert Jo Wynn-Carter of Retail Inspired.
“When I visited, you can see the town’s business owners running their businesses with flair and passion for the future of Bedford.
“These businesses will continue to be an integral part of creating a more vibrant, diverse thriving town centre; despite the challenges high streets are facing nationally.”
Today (Friday) the 4Mation store opened, selling repurposed furniture and reusable products.
4Mation is a collaboration between YMCA Bedfordshire and Bedford’s ReUse Centre and epitomises the evolution of charity shops.
“We are really excited by this new venture’’ said Paul Hunt YMCA Bedfordshire CEO.
“We believe in the ethos that The Reuse Centre stood for and are passionate about continuing its recycle, repurpose and reuse values, and of course we look forward to seeing lots of people visit the store.”
Stock includes upcycled furniture and handmade cushions from offcuts of fabrics donated by John Lewis.
“We hope to work with lots of other business like John Lewis” said Carl Wright, 4Mation Retail Manager.
“We’re looking to create and stock all kinds of unique and interesting recycled items and of course money from the store will support other areas of YMCA Bedfordshire services”
You can keep up to date on their new stock on Facebook and Instagram @4mationstore
Saturday 18 October sees the launch of Rewind Merchandise, selling retro movie, gaming and music gifts and products.
Shop owner, Jedd Lawrence is no stranger to retail, or the Arcade, as his mum runs Charisma Gifts in the unit next door.
“I believe there’s a real gap in the market for retro movie and gaming clothing and memorabilia,” said Jedd.
“It’s a huge interest of mine and I know so many people locally who are the same, so it just made sense to bring this offering to Bedford.
“I’ve always loved retail – with it being in the family – and had hoped to open my own shop one day, so when the opportunity came up for a shop unit in Bedford’s Old Arcade I jumped at the chance.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the response to what we have to offer’’.
Finally, on 2 November, Tolchard’s will take up residence in one of the ‘kiosk’ units at the Harpur Street end of the Arcade.
Run by Chris and Kate Temple, formerly of Goldings, the shop will offer key cutting and some of old ironmongers’ most popular items.
“The smaller space will be a lot more manageable,” said Kate. “Using our experience of running Goldings for the last four years, we’ve selected the best-sellers to bring to the new shop.
“Alongside key-cutting, we’ll be offering light bulbs, high-end furniture polishes and other smaller items. Suffice to say, it won’t be the 35,000 product lines that Goldings sold, but we hope that many of our loyal former customers will like what we’re doing.
“We’re really looking forward to the new chapter.”