Report by Jodie Nesling and Kathy Bailes
Ambitious plans to rejuvenate The Centre off Margate High Street include pop-up shops, farmers’ markets, and trendy street food stalls.
New owner Sheet Anchor Evolve has agreed an investment programme which it sayswill transform the neglected area into a bright, vibrant and creative space for shoppers and business owners.
Managing director Joe O’Keefe wants to encourage visitors and businesses to spend time in the area. He said: “Our long term vision is to see national retailers and independent businesses grow and flourish with a fantastic, colourful community spirit that enhances the area as a place to work, shop and live.
“Working together with the council, local people and businesses we want to nurture a district of retailers, fashion, pop-ups, street food, farmers markets, workshops, lifestyle, studios, artists, events and designers. A place where collaboration is welcome.”
The transition is already underway with record shop and gig venue Elsewhere attracting talented musicians and emerging Thanet talent.
Other independents include second hand clothing shop Margate Superstore and body piercing studio, Glitz n Gadgets. Mainstream stores include Peacocks.
Evolve has been working with Sarah-Jane Cook, best known as SJ, from the Margate Superstore to create a colourful scheme for The Centre. SJ has recommended isle artist, Jade Spranklen, to paint a large mural on the wall opposite Peacocks.
Evolve has commissioned Jade to design a beautiful and colourful abstract map of Margate which she will be painting once the area has been prepped.
SJ has a background in architecture and fashion while Oscar’s experience is also fashion and vintage wear.
They both have other fashion-related businesses and have run pop up shops over the last 6 years.
Stretch Outsider gallery, run by Dean Stalham, will shut its doors on June 5 and move to a new site in the town.
Evolve say the proposals for The Centre will mean large vacant units being split and made available as affordable work/studio and retail space on shorter rent leases or as pop up/markets and space being made available for local charities and community workshops to use.