Northampton BID have said they 'are not giving up' on working with town centre shoe brands to create a series of pop-up outlet shops, even though the move is looking increasingly unlikely.
Back in June, Wes Suter of Steffans Jewellers pitched his 'put your best foot forward' campaign to the Chronicle & Echo in a bid to attract shoemakers into the town centre in the hope of them opening factory outlet shops.
Wes saw a gap in the market when he noticed how international tourists currently do the rounds of big-name Northampton footwear factories before they hop on a bus and head out of town - avoiding the main shopping streets entirely.
Last September, the scheme appeared to be moving forward when executive director of Northampton town centre BID, Rob Purdie, said empty units in the town centre could be revamped to promote our shoe heritage.
He said he was working on a proposal to use vacant space, good quality factory shop stock and flexible staffing to set up a series of pop-up shops in the town centre.
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But he has now confirmed to the Chron that the idea is no longer looking possible and BID is looking to host 'shoe-themed exhibitions' in empty shops.
Mr Purdie said: “We would dearly love to see the presence of shoes within the town, and our efforts and commitment to achieving this have not waivered, despite coming up against some initial challenges.
"While our original idea around pop-up shops for the well-known shoe manufacturers to retail in the town centre is not looking possible, they are open to supporting our ideas to promote our town’s shoe heritage, and we are doing everything we can to encourage this as quickly as possible.
"Shoe-themed exhibitions in vacant units, and town centre events and initiatives are some ideas we are exploring with other partners and the borough council. As a BID we are very much a facilitator, we can open doors and help partners work together but we can’t achieve our aims alone. While it might not happen as quickly as we had hoped, we are not giving up.”