The Consortium - offering a home for small businesses in Storrington

JPCT 050813 S13321062x Clockwise from front left: Sharon and Mike Garland with tenants Melina Miller and Melanie Kemp -photo by Steve Cobb

JPCT 050813 S13321062x Clockwise from front left: Sharon and Mike Garland with tenants Melina Miller and Melanie Kemp -photo by Steve Cobb

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Small businesses are being invited to rent space in The Consortium, a new co-operative venture coming soon to Storrington.

Sharon and Mike Garland have bought an 18th century premises - thought to have been the community’s first local post office - at 17, West Street.

As well as using the shop for their own business, selling French kitchenware, they are inviting small businesses to take a space in the shop, in exchange for an affordable rent and a weekly commitment to working in the shop.

This week, they were hard at work getting ready for an open evening on Friday night.

“We’re looking to see if people want to take on a room, or maybe share a room with someone who does similar kinds of things,” said Sharon.

“We call it The Consortium because it’s a mixture of small businesses that are in here, and they’re working for the benefit of the whole.

“The strength of it is the fact that there’s so many people in here.”

Ideally, they are looking for local people who make or renovate things, or who put old objects to new uses.

It would suit people who already have a small business but are looking to expand, or who sell things over the internet but would like a shop to operate from. They would also like to hear from anyone who might want to run a cafe on the site.

Mike said they will try to find people whose work complements that of other tenants, but does not compete with it - the idea is to have a co-operative environment. “We don’t want people in the building who are in competition with each other,” he said.

Sharon said they had been looking for suitable premises for three months before they found the place. It was initially only available for rent, which would have prevented them sub-letting, but they managed to persuade the owners to sell it to them.

So far, businesses involved in the scheme include:

Furniture restoration, vintage textiles, baby clothing and nursery accessories, dress agency, pop up homemade organic ice cream. Gallery space will be offered to local artists.

They would also like to offer jewelry and craft items.

For more information, come to the open evening on Friday August 9, from 7pm to 9pm, or call 07766 886172.