New entrepreneurs hit Horsham’s high streets

Published: 23 Sep 2022

David and Chris Woods-Hale (Major Mind Games), Cllr Jonathan Chowen, Gill Buchanan (Swan Walk Manager), Lorna Beard (Lorna Beard Studios), Drew Dewsall (Gobsmack Comics)

Thanks to a range of grant funds and innovative initiatives from Horsham District Council several new entrepreneurs have been able to expand their businesses in the retail sector, delivering a vibrant collection of new experiences for customers in Horsham Town Centre.

Four exciting new independent businesses have opened in the town centre recently as a direct result of these initiatives.

Swan Walk Shopping Centre’s new independent retail line up has seen Major Mind Games, the town’s first immersive escape room experience, indoor plant specialist Hugo Green and bite- sized therapy salon POD Massage added to their existing retail outlets.

Additionally in the town’s Colletts Alley in Middle Street, Lorna Beard has opened a first floor Art Gallery and Studio.

Hugo Green and Lorna Beard Studios first dipped their toes in the water of retail by taking advantage of the Council’s Pop Up Horsham facility in the town’s West Street in 2021, enabling them to ‘test the water’ in the field of retail trading.  An additional business, Gobsmack Comics, also benefitted from the Council’s initial Pop Up Horsham partnership back in 2015 and is still successfully trading in Swan Walk Shopping Centre.

Council Leader and Cabinet Member for the Local Economy, Jonathan Chowen said, “I think this new portfolio of town businesses are great examples of entrepreneurs now making a successful living on our high streets.

I am delighted that by imaginative use of our resources we have been able to assist in their business journeys and hope that we will be able to support many more fledgling businesses in the future Independent traders are so vital to the character of a market town.

Chris Woods-Hale, Director at Major Mindgames, paid tribute to the Council’s economic support saying:

The Council has been completely supportive and was quick to see the wider benefit of a destination business such as ours for the town as a whole.

The ARG grant funding they awarded us has made a significant difference to our launch, enabling us to open a more impactful businesses on day one than we had planned initially.

Lorna Beard added:

The exposure and experience I gained from my time in last year’s Pop Up shop inspired me to take the leap into a studio and gallery of my own. I think Horsham has the ability to attract an even greater range of specialist creative and experience-based businesses based on the public response I have personally found.

Gill Buchanan and her team at Swan Walk are always pleased to welcome new brands and continue to champion independents with Gill saying:

Having these new businesses join us this summer is great for both Swan Walk and the town centre and working with all partners in our community, especially the Council remains a priority for us.

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