A new pop-up shop is soon to breathe fresh life into Chippenham’s Emery Gate shopping centre.
The idea for the shop, which will sell ethical local products, was dreamed up by four friends hoping to put their knowledge and experience of enterprise to the test.
Dan Gregory, who specialises in social enterprise, and Ellie Gill, responsible for the running of markets around Wiltshire, teamed up with Chippenham residents Vic O’Brien and Alex Murray to make their vision come to life.
Now the shop, which will be called Pop Shop Wiltshire, will be officially opened in mid-October.
Mr Gregory said: “We all want this a lot, and in our spare time, we’ve worked to make it a reality.
“At the moment, we’re really hoping to create something that will provide work. We want to provide a new model for other to take on in other towns. It may be that Ellie, or someone else, works in the shop initially, but ultimately we want to provide enterprise opportunities for other people. It’s important for us that we create something ethical and helpful too.”
Already, a group of 18 to 23-year-olds from Job Centre Plus have started to work in the unit in Emery Gate, which the team say will provide them with valuable work experience for their CVs.
Mr Gregory said the shop will be stocked with locally-provided products.
“We’re looking at, for example, things made by Wiltshire Wood Recycling, or chillis grown at the Wiltshire Chilli Farm,” he said.
“We really want to support the people in the area who have their own businesses.”
Mr Gregory said the group aims to show how the town's retail offer may be developed, and also help engage young people who may have entrepreneurial hopes but little confidence, experience or financial backing.
Mrs Gill, who runs Marlborough Community Market, said: “We are aiming to open the doors by October 13, but the hope is that the official opening will be on October 18.
“We’re very much hoping that MP Duncan Hames will come along to support us. It’s a very exciting venture and we’re looking forward to getting started.”