Look what’s popping up in Nowra’s CBD

A FRESH batch of businesses are about to pop up in Kinghorne Street, instantly adding more variety to shopping in the Nowra CBD.

The idea is to offer cheap rent to a number of small businesses, entrepreneurs and artists to share the space in one building.

The Pop Up Palace in Kinghorne Street will offer up to 10 spaces for $100 per week, plus a small charge for overheads.

Owner of the building that will house the Pop Up Palace and Shoalhaven Tourism Board chairwoman Catherine Shields said she was amazed with the response when she put word out on social media.

“Within 24 hours of putting it on Facebook 900 people saw it, people were phoning straight away,” she said.

“It just seems to have hit the spot. There’s a lot of people with micro businesses at home and creative people.

“This gives them a chance to try retail, to put a toe in the water without the big financial risk.

“It also gives established businesses a chance to try something experimental, so it’s not just limited to new businesses.”

The idea follows Nowra’s successful pop up art gallery Squid Studio which opened last year in what was the empty former Clyde Poulton office on the Princes Highway.

Squid Studio founder Jen Saunders had the same response when she announced that space was available.

“It has been very popular right from the very start. We are booked up until September this year,” she said.

“This is a Renew Australia Initiative that places artists and creative people into empty shopfronts to activate the space. 

“Here the initiative is more slanted toward artists and it’s really a non-profit, community space model, but in Newcastle and Melbourne they’ve got retail and cafes.

“Artists’ workshops, classes, kids’ art groups, dance and people use it for meetings, it’s multipurpose. 

“It’s a lot cheaper than the arts centre and I’ve put an emphasis on encouraging people who had not exhibited before to reach lots of different parts of the community,” she said.

One of the first people to book a spot in Kinghorne Street’s pop up shop was Joanne Duncan from Bomaderry.

The pop up venture has allowed Mrs Duncan to take a candle-making hobby and turn it into a business.

Mrs Duncan started making her own soy and palm wax candles because she couldn’t find a product with the scents, colours and ingredients she wanted.

“I started making them for friends and family and thought, ‘Why not start selling them?’” she said.

“I was struggling to get into one of the local markets, so this will be my first foray into business,” she said.

“When I saw the Pop Up Palace was coming up I phoned straight away,” she said.

Borrowing from her primary school nickname Joanna Goanna, she called her business Pink Goanna and hopes to set up shop this week. 

“I wanted to have a shop but I couldn’t afford it by myself,” she said.

“The pop up initiative is great, it will bring more variety to the CBD, and the more businesses the better.”

Shoalhaven City Council owns businesses in the CBD and according to acting Strategic Planning manager Jessica Rippon pop up shops were on council’s radar.

“We’ve got the Nowra CBD Master Plan in draft form and the pop up shop idea is one of the initiatives in that.

“It’s one of a number of initiatives we’re looking at,” she said.

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