Saturday - 20 September 2014

Sheffield antiques quarter shows signs of revitalisation for retail

22 October 2012Written by Ivan Macquisten

Sheffield Antiques Quarter is planning a November 25 Christmas fair as its official opening, but it has effectively already relaunched.

Revitalising the quarter, which is home to six antique centres and a further 14 shops, was the brainchild of Contemporary art dealer Hendrika Stephens of The Corner Gallery in Heeley Bank Antiques Centre, on Queens Road, who started drumming up interest earlier this year.

She now chairs the development group and has been delighted by the widespread support for the enterprise, which now has committees handling marketing, events and the quarter's website.

Joe Lachowicz, who runs retro dealership Timewarp Collectables has designed the antiques quarter logo, shown below, basing the design on a mix of street signs, the Yorkshire Rose and Sheffield's bus livery.

Local graphic and web design company Brightstar Creative have designed a colour gatefold flyer, with an annotated map and listing, showing where all the businesses are, together with travel and contact information.

Thousands of the flyers promoting the quarter have been delivered to the surrounding area and have also have been distributed to tourist information offices and libraries in the city.

The steering group have submitted an application for banners which would hang from lampposts in the quarter, and are now looking into applying for brown tourism signs further afield to direct people to the area, although these cost £1500 each, so it may take some time to raise the necessary funds.

 

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Above: the new antiques quarter logo, which was designed by local retro dealer Joe Lachowicz of Timewarp Collectables.

 

Sheffield City Council has continued to offer advice and support, but the improvements in the quarter have been paid for by the retailers themselves.

 "We believe people will value what they have more if they have had to put their hands in their pockets to pay for it," says Hendrika. It also helps the quarter to be more independent and economically self sustaining.

The revitalisation drive is already reaping benefits. Footfall is noticeably up, the area is attracting more families, and there have even been new food shops taking space where before units lay empty.

Adding to the attraction is the council's policy of allowing the windows of empty shop units to be used for promoting the area. Students from the nearby Source Skills Academy for Retail have created display windows in a number of empty shops using material and stock gathered from the art, antique, vintage and retro shops in the quarter.

"Everybody who walks by them stops for a closer look," says Hendrika, "they are becoming a local attraction in themselves."

The vintage Christmas fair in November will bring in market stalls, musicians and themed festive fun as well as showcasing the best the shops in the quarter can offer.

And to keep everyone's stock, presentation and service up to scratch, the quarter expect to introduce a Secret Shopper, who will visit shops incognito and report back to the steering group with constructive feedback.

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