Solving the empty shop problem 

Brought together by a pop up shop initiative, Sew Very Vintage celebrated their first birthday this July.  After successfully running their individual businesses from the town’s first pop up shop at 29 High Street, the three business owners decided to continue to work as a joint venture in a long-term shop of their own, Sew Very Vintage.

Flashop, led by Iain Nicholson, were originally hired by Wallingford Town Council to help reduce the number of empty shops in the town centre. By connecting landlords to potential tenants, the initiative helps to reduce the need for long leases, allowing businesses the opportunity to hire the unit for short periods of time whilst still paying the market rate.  This gives businesses a realistic taste of the costs involved in running a retail unit with the hope that this will lead to them leasing a unit on a longer term basis. 

And that is exactly what happened with Sew Very Vintage.  Here Devon Masters gives an insight into how Sew Very Vintage started out:

"I was born in Wallingford in 1975 and attended school locally.  Over the years I have worked in many of the shops in the area and being able to get married and start a family here was wonderful, as I have always loved my home town. 

In 2010 I had a elective C section which left me with nerve damage and debilitating long term pain.  I was pretty much house bound for quite a few years, which gave me the idea of making jewellery and occasionally attending local fairs to sell my creations.  I had a wonderful response and got asked at the Wallingford Christmas event if I'd like to attend the Wallingford Local Producers Market.

I joined the market in 2013 and was instantly welcomed by those selling local produce and local handmade crafts in the Regal Centre.  I attended the markets most weekends and despite my disability felt able to contribute.

Over the years I've built a great local customer base at the market and have been well supported. This gave me the confidence to join the pop up scheme in the town with Madeline Tanner and Hayley Shaw.  We worked for six months together and enjoyed it so much we agreed to carry on in a permanent location.  The shop premises we chose was steeped in history and was loved previously by many.  It was a perfect choice for our new shop, Sew Very Vintage.  

Sew Very Vintage is a unique collaboration of three businesses under one roof.  This makes our range of stock exciting with an eclectic mix of vintage, vintage inspired and new stock from a range of suppliers.  We also offer craft supplies and various craft workshops which take place in our local studio. 

I can't thank the people in Wallingford and surrounding areas for all their support in my business, and now our shop. It's truly changed my life for the better."

If you would like to know more about the Flashop initiative please contact us.