Three top new businesses open in Shrewsbury’s Pride Hill Centre

Three new businesses have opened in Shrewsbury’s busy Pride Hill Shopping Centre creating 11 new jobs.

They come hard on the heels of a number of new openings in the centre which has also seen major toy retailer The Entertainer and bargain discounter Poundworld take new stores there in recent months and it means that over 80 new jobs have been created in the Shrewsbury Shopping Centres of Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside.

One of the new stores is a familiar face, fashion store Raw has reopened on the Upper Level and has been joined by two newcomers, mobile phone accessories and repairs business Phonebooth and holiday money shop Number One Currency Exchange.

Phonebooth, owned by North Wales-based entrepreneur Callum Roberts, will employ four staff headed by manager Leigh Swann.

Callum Roberts, aged 24, said: “I’ve been in the mobile phone business for five years and started off in markets and then opened my first shop in Llandudno when I was 21 and this is my second.

“We do a complete range of accessories and we do same-day repairs on site and they’re guaranteed for 12 months.

“I’ve got a good feeling about Shrewsbury. We’re near the entrance of the Pride Hill and it’s nice and busy and it’s a lovely town with plenty of people about.”

Two doors away are Number One Currency Exchange whose opening is part of a major expansion by the Edinburgh-based company which already has 32 of its own stores and 160 franchises across the UK and plans to add a further 20 this year.

Marketing Manager Elaine Gilhooley said: “This is one of our own stores and we will be employing four people with a manager and the new store is part of the large national expansion that we’re planning.

“Our market research identified Shrewsbury as a viable site and an area of growth and profitability.

“The pound is currently very strong against the euro and that is encouraging people to perhaps ravel to Europe more and change more money because they are getting better value.

“We do have very competitive rates and we also operate a click and collect service so that you can order your cash online and pick it up at the store – and if the rate has gone up in the meantime then we will pay you the improved rate.”

Making a comeback is fashion retailer Raw which has made a triumphant return to the Pride Hill centre after a short absence and has created two new jobs into the bargain.

Owner Dabs Sikham, 39, opened his first shop in Swansea seven years ago and launched Raw four years ago.

Dabs explained: “I have plenty of experience is the fashion retailing business going back about 12 years and had my first shop, which sold menswear, in Swansea town centre.”

Raw had seven shops across the South and Midlands, including a branch in Pride Hill but the economic downturn forced the closure of all but one last November.

But the new Raw is now on the centre’s second floor and he said: “The economic downturn meant that I had to close most of my Raw shops a few years ago but I did keep the Pride Hill and Chester ones open for a little longer.

“Unfortunately, I had to leave the Pride Hill shop in November last year but I’m glad to say we’re now back in the shopping centre.

“We’ve been able to create two new jobs at the store, one of which is full-time and the other part-time. I’m currently looking to take on one more member of staff and, depending on how well things go, I’m hoping to employ more people in the future.

“We’ve spent a significant amount of money on the new shop and tried to create a bright and vibrant place for people to shop.”

He added: “The customers at Pride Hill were always good to me and there was definitely a new gap in the market for a business like Raw. Basically, there was an opportunity to go back there and I decided to take it.”

Kevin Lockwood, Manager of the Darwin, Pride Hill and Riverside Shopping Centres, said: “We have had a number of new openings in recent months and there are others in the pipeline.

“It is encouraging that as well as major retailers like The Entertainer and Poundworld there are a number of smaller enterprises opening and this all adds to the variety of the retail offer we have here in Shrewsbury.

“Shrewsbury is a real shopping hub for a very wide area and is a lovely, characterful town and the importance of retail to the local economy is underlined by the fact that in the past six months we have created over 80 jobs here with the likelihood of more to come.”

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