Electric bike shop among new businesses opening in Kingston

By Ellie Brown - Local Democracy Reporter

19th Jan 2022 | Local News

AN ELECTRIC bike shop is among three new businesses set to open in Kingston town centre.

The store, a branch of high-end cycling and triathlon shop Sigma Sports, will be opening in the marketplace in the former Edinburgh Woollen Mill premises.

Signs advertising the new businesses have gone up and the store is hiring salespersons and workshop technicians.

Sushi chain Wasabi will be opening on Clarence Street, not far from the new LEON restaurant and other eateries Itsu and Kokoro.

Wasabi have five staff vacancies which you can find HERE.

On Thames Street, independent Apple products specialists the iTstore is set to replace Cath Kidson, which shut last year.

The iTstore says that Kingston will be its "flagship store" following a successful opening in Canterbury, Kent.

On its website the company says: "Kingston has been identified as a prime location for our services thanks to a dense population with one of the highest household disposable incomes in the UK.

"There is a large Apple Store and a John Lewis with Apple department in the town centre who flood the market with new Apple devices and have created a very large Apple-using customer base.

"This local market is estimated to be at least 10 times greater than that of Canterbury."

The store is described as an "investment opportunity" and will be a hub for smaller satellite branches planned in other areas of London.

News of the shops comes amid changes to Kingston high street sparked by the pandemic.

Following a move to online shopping, several major fashion chains closed their Kingston stores including Topshop/Topman, Oasis and more recently Joules and Crew Clothing.

Clas Ohlson, the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, the Carphone Warehouse, Halfords, and Monsoon also struggled and shut branches in the town.

However, at least twenty businesses have opened in Kingston since April 2021, according to Business Improvement District Kingston First.

These include independent fashion boutique Giulio, two American candy shops, Triple Two Coffee, Eco pizza restaurant, creative hub Not My Beautiful House and LEON.

Kingston's number of vacant units is also less than the UK average at 9.2% compared with 11.3%, the organisation said.

Just under half the vacant units are either let but awaiting opening or under offer but not yet let.

Kingston First is also behind the #KingstonCanvas project which has brought colourful artwork to vacant units in the town centre.

"Businesses are telling us they are noticing people are spending more with their business on each trip into town which is helping our local economy recover post-covid," said Shareena Merzi, Kingston First's Director of Communications & Corporate Development.

"Part of the work in our vacant units project is to connect landlords and agents with prospective investors and new businesses, to bring diversity and a varied offer to the town centre.

"We want to bring something a bit different into the town centre in terms of the offer for consumers, which is why we are connecting with landlords and agents to try and bring meanwhile use space into the units.

"These spaces could be used by community, charities and start-ups, encouraging creativity and innovation while also supporting the local economy."

Looking to support Kingston's high street and local businesses? Check out our Local List, a directory that is FREE for Kingston businesses to join[.L]


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