The York Business Improvement District (BID) has rolled out its window dressing programme on vacant shopfronts in the city centre starting with spaces on Jubbergate and Bridge Street. The two locations display adhesive vinyl which portray a contemporary 3-D illustration of an inspiring shop, smartening up the look of its neighbouring business area and making its vacant commercial space more attractive for prospective tenants. The BID will expand its window dressing programme to a further five shopfronts in the coming months.
Andrew Lowson, Executive Director of the BID, ‘The programme addresses concerns expressed by businesses about how the city may be negatively perceived because of the appearance of empty storefronts, yet the actual number of empty shops in York compared to other cities in the UK is relatively low. The window dressing is a quick and effective solution that minimises the unsightly presence of a vacant shopfront when changing over occupancy and maximises the incentive for another business to set up trade in York.’ Figures show that the UK vacancy rate is 2.5%, with a five-year average of 3.4%; whilst York’s current rate is 1.8%, with a five-year average of 1.4%. As part of the BID’s commitment to improving the city centre’s appearance and lend business support, they have teamed with Shopjacket to design and coordinate the installation of the vinyl dressings and Make It York to provide prospective businesses with information and support.
Less than a week since the programme’s launch, businesses in the surrounding area have noticed a difference. Gessica Giacalone, General Manager of Piccolinos, York on Bridge Street, ‘The window dressing is an improvement to the presentation of the vacant shop and helps clean up the appearance of our business area which sees heavy footfall traffic to and from Ouse Bridge. It’s a thriving area so we hope this will help encourage a new tenant to join our business community.’