Whitley Bay firm helps to boost high streets with creative shop front designs, Chronicle Live 11 May 2015
A North East firm is helping to revitalise high streets with its innovative shop front designs.
Shopjacket, based in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, creates displays that make empty or rundown properties look more attractive and prevent sites from becoming eyesores.
This in turn helps to boost marketing efforts and brings vacant buildings back into use.
The group also works with existing shops to improve their appearance.
The company has been working on projects with local authorities and organisations in the North East as well as other parts of the country.
And the team, which includes owner Paul Murphy and designer Jo Atkinson, has received calls from America and the Middle East. They also carry out consultancy work.
Mr Murphy, 53, of Whitley Bay, said: “We have been working in North Tyneside, County Durham, Glasgow, Dundee, Edinburgh, South Wales, Northern Ireland and Amsterdam. We are also getting calls from Ohio.
“This is not just about making shops look attractive - it is about making real changes on the High Street and inspiring people.
“One of our clients had a property on the market for around three years and they had received no calls about it. We went along and put a friendly message on the front and made the site look better. After we completed the work, they had two calls within days and the property was let within two months.”
In Whitley Bay, Shopjacket created temporary designs for the outside of the Spanish City Dome. The building’s first floor windows were covered by panels portraying curtains and chandeliers. And the ground floor hoardings beside the entrance showed a contemporary dining area.
In addition, a further six large images were created in the style of historic railway posters. They showed key locations along North Tyneside’s coastline including North Shields Fish Quay, Tynemouth Priory, Cullercoats Bay, Tynemouth Longsands, Spanish City Dome and St Mary’s Lighthouse.
Other empty properties in North Shields and Whitley Bay were also revamped with the company’s designs.
Mr Murphy said: “The idea is to look deeper into what the problems on the High Street are and help deal with the underlying issues, bringing vibrancy and a sense of pride back.
“For example, shops are often not open at the right times when the majority of the people are shopping.
“It is no good offering loyalty schemes or apps because it will not make a difference. We have to go back to basics and get the service right.
“We have to look at what is needed to get people through the door.
“And we are passionate about delivering real change.”