Psyche fashion store owner Steve Cochrane says its store in Middlesbrough’s largest shopping centre continues to thrive after five years as a result of its ability to attract a range of diverse customers.

Despite challenging times for high street stores, Psyche 2 is celebrating its fifth anniversary in Cleveland Centre because owner Cochrane believes it allows his brand to reach out to a more diverse customer base.

Along with a main department store on Linthorpe Road, Psyche also now has a base in Durham as well as a large and growing online presence that now accounts for around 50% of total sales.

But Cochrane says the smaller Psyche 2 store in the Cleveland Centre will continue to play an important role for the business.

The store, which employs nine of Psyche’s 86-strong team, is currently looking to introduce ladies’ line to its current men’s and children’s products.

“Both Psyche and Cleveland Centre are synonymous with Middlesbrough,” said Cochrane, whose business turned over £9 million in the last financial year.

“Psyche 2 provides a totally different offering to our main store gives shoppers an entry price for a more casual, younger product. It gives us more of a presence in the town centre and helps give us a much larger, stronger footprint in the town.

“It attracts a really diverse customer base, possibly a little older than we initially anticipated, from their early 20s to their mid-40s.

“It’s proved to be a great test bed for us to trial new products and brands so, alongside the big names, we like to introduce new and emerging brands, and often a more casual product.

“But ultimately it has to have the same high standards as the large Psyche store. The look, feel and ambience is important to me – we care about our customers, the products we offer and the environment they’re shopping in, so it has been carefully curated.

“It was always important to avoid cannibalising the main store, so we initially called It Style Lab to totally differentiate it from the main store, but when we renamed it Psyche 2 sales went up by 30%.”

Cochrane said he remained committed to two Middlesbrough stores despite ongoing challenges for all high street retailers.

He added: “It’s no secret that the high street is going through severe challenges. Middlesbrough is no different from anywhere else.

“The migration of retail customers to online means all town centres are finding it challenging, so I think it’s a case of riding the transition. Five years on, I’m glad I launched Psyche 2.

“We’re always looking for new ideas and plans so we’ve been discussing the potential to add women’s fashion brands to Psyche 2’s men’s and children’s lines, as we’re getting an increasing number of requests to expand the range.”

Cleveland Centre’s deputy manager Craig Weatherall said: “It’s fantastic that two iconic Teesside names, the Cleveland Centre and Psyche, are working together in such a positive way.

“We’re delighted that Steve and the Psyche team remain so committed to our shopping centre five years on and are planning towards the next five years.

“We’re proud of the fact that alongside national names such as Boots, HMV, New Look and WH Smith, we’re able to offer Teesside shoppers leading local brands such as Psyche.”

Pictured: Psyche owner Steve Cochrane with Cleveland Centre’s Craig Weatherall at the shopping centre’s Psyche 2 store

Business is booming for independent traders who have opened shops at the indoor Dundas Market in Middlesbrough.

The market’s owners have focused on creating a community market with an emphasis on customer service and a welcoming and supportive environment for new traders.

The result is a vibrant shopping destination where space is at a premium with more than 25 businesses providing a diverse range of products and services under one roof.

They include the area’s only vegan supermarket, a collectibles company which will scour the world to track down much-sought items, and a pet supplies shop which even sells mini houses for hedgehogs.

The shops are run by people new to business as well as experienced retailers.  In Alta Ego Cleveland College of Art and Design graduate Nicole Bean sells the jewellery, textiles and sculptures she has created.

Nicole had shops in various parts of Middlesbrough before moving to Dundas Market in 2017. Business is going so well for her that she has just taken on extra space.

“I’ve been trading for 15 years. This is the best setting for me,” she said. “Independent shops are a good thing for customers because they get the personal touch.  They like to speak to people and they like to look at things.

“It’s important that we have this kind of community, because we all help each other out and the management is really helpful as well.”

Animal lover Lucy Martin-Hall, 21, was new to business when she opened her shop – Leo Libra Pet Supplies – last summer (2018).

She benefitted from Dundas Market’s business creation and growth scheme where start-ups can rent an Enterprise Unit for as little as £10 per day.

Lucy said that helped her through the early weeks and – after a successful Christmas and a move to a bigger shop – trade is flourishing.

She said she has been supported by the market manager David Harris, who has been particularly helpful with advice about how to use social media to promote Libra Pet Supplies.

“He’s always there if you have any problems.  I wasn’t thinking about expanding until I spoke to him and he told me about all the benefits, which I’m already seeing,” said Lucy.  “He helped me make the right decision.”

Her bigger shop has enabled her to widen her range of products, which already include items for snakes and bearded dragons, as well as food, toys and tiny houses for hedgehogs.

Ian and Karen Riley ran a successful website selling collectible gifts.  The Celebrity Gift Company was launched after Karen realised the high demand for items after selling Betty Boop figures online.

Like Lucy, the Rileys opened a shop in Dundas Market last summer and have just moved to a bigger unit to cater for the thousand different lines they sell.

“We’re a family business and we can’t compete head-on with High Street retailers, but our difference is that we stock everything they don’t,” said Ian.

“Our three big sellers are Betty Boop, Disney and Elvis.  It’s amazing how many local collectors there are.  They’re after everything: figures, cushions, purses, mirrors, tea pots, oven gloves…you name it.”

And if an item is not in stock, The Celebrity Gift Company will make sure its customers are not disappointed – even if it means finding and importing rare editions from the Far East.

Another arrival in 2018 – The Little Vegan Market – is also going from strength to strength.  It has just doubled its floor space to cater for the growing demand for vegan food and products.

Earlier this year two people, providing very different products, joined the Dundas Market community of traders and fulfilled lifelong ambitions of running their own businesses.

In February Byron Pearman started his own tattoo parlour, Beardy Giant Tattoos, and last month Christine Fearon – a former drug and alcohol worker with the Criminal Justice System – opened her florist shop Made with Love.

Dundas Market manager David Harris said he was very proud of all the traders who have helped in the transformation of the market.

“Retail is a tough business, particularly today, but everybody’s worked so hard and they deserve their success,” he said.  “It’s extremely satisfying to see people start from scratch – like many of them have – and in such a short time do so well that they need bigger units in the market.  We have even had a number move into larger shop units in Dundas Shopping Centre.”

Contact David if you are interested in starting or moving your business to Dundas Market. Phone 01642 232552 or email.

Teessiders can make the most of a delightful new personal grooming service on their own doorsteps following the opening of a new Turkish Barbers shop in Middlesbrough’s Cleveland Centre.

The shop is the only barbers in the town’s largest retail centre and is located in Central Mall near WH Smith and opposite the Disney Store.

Owner Ilhan Ekinci says he is “excited” to be opening his new venture to go along with his three other barber shops in South Shields, Washington Galleries and Jarrow.

Ilhan, who already has more than 500 regular customers, naturally believes the service he offers is a cut above the rest.

The new Middlesbrough branch offers traditional barbering services and treatments, along with a range of 20% discount offers from Monday to Thursday, and even a loyalty card where customers can get their sixth haircut free.

“Middlesbrough is an exciting new venture for us with a new clientele in a popular shopping centre,” said experienced barber Ilhan, who opened his first shop in South Shields in 2014.

“We’re bringing all of our experience and values to the shop and pride ourselves on our customer service, offering complementary freshly-made coffee and tea, and cold drinks and sweets for children.

“We’ve got to say a big thank you to the Cleveland Centre for allowing us to complete the shop fitting during day-time hours, which allowed us to open on schedule.”

After enjoying a trim and the removal of ear hair by the traditional Turkish method of singeing by flame, Cleveland Centre manager Graeme Skillen said: “The Turkish Barbers is a fantastic addition to the centre.

“They’ve given the unit a fantastic fit-out and I’m confident they’ll quickly attract plenty of regulars from those who work or shop in the town centre.”

The shop currently employs two full-time barbers and is looking to recruit five more staff members in the near future.

The UK’s local jeweller Goldsmiths has unveiled its transformed Middlesbrough showroom, which now includes an enhanced dedicated Rolex area following a £300,000 investment.

Situated within the retail heart of Middlesbrough’s high street and on the fringe of Hillstreet Shopping Centre, the Goldsmiths store has re-opened its doors showcasing an impressive, contemporary look and extension of a 33 sq m branded Rolex space.

The prestigious watch brand’s area incorporates the new concept shop-fit and hosts a range of the latest models and collections. In true Goldsmiths fashion, experts are always on hand to consult clients and provide a one-on-one, specialist customer and styling service.

The showroom, which stands at 106 sq m, boasts a selection of coveted labels including Gucci, Tissot and Rado alongside the classic Rolex timepieces. Shoppers can also browse fine jewellery styles from Mappin & Webb as well as an exclusive collaboration with popular bridal designer Jenny Packham.

Craig Bolton, Goldsmiths executive director, said: “We are pleased to officially open our newly-refurbished Middlesbrough showroom and the expansion of our premium offering here with the introduction of the branded Rolex area. As one of Teesside’s main shopping districts, we felt this was a great opportunity to augment our in-store experience and hope our valued customer base in the region enjoy coming to us even more.”

Goldsmiths Middlesbrough manager Brian Shute added: “We are all really excited for this next chapter for our showroom and to take business forward with a brand new look. It comes in time for summer so whether it’s a wedding, another special occasion or just because, we’re ready to welcome back in-store some familiar faces as well as a new audience to find that perfect item.”

Middlesbrough’s consumer sector is one of the best performing in the UK according to an influential new report.

The strong showing puts the city heart of the Tees Valley ahead of nearby cities, and above other cities up and down the UK.

The 2018 UK Consumer Powerhouse report – produced by solicitors Irwin Mitchell in partnership with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) – highlights the consumer sector as a key driver for economic growth.

And in a series of measures comparing the fortunes of more than 40 cities, Middlesbrough’s vibrant and diverse city centre economy stands out as one of the UK’s star performers.

In the face of digital and technological change, changing consumer behaviour, uncertainty over Brexit and the impact of new regulation, Middlesbrough is consistently near the top of a series of tables gauging the health of a key sector covering retail, leisure, tourism and food and drink.

In her foreword, CBI Director General Carolyn Fairbairn points to the overall resilience of the consumer sector – worth £400 billion in 2017 –  with GVA (gross value added) growth of 1.5% and employment growth of 1% across the 44 cities under the spotlight.

By comparison Middlesbrough’s consumer sector GVA growth rate of 3% was the second-highest recorded in the UK in Q4 2017, with the town placed only marginally behind best performer Bristol.

Middlesbrough also recorded strong employment growth of 2.6% within the sector, with the report also predicting a rise to 2.9% by the fourth quarter of 2018.

The town’s consumer sector GVA growth rate in Q4 2018 is also forecast to be one of the strongest in the UK at 2.7%.

Victoria Brackett, CEO of Irwin Mitchell’s Business Legal Services, said: “Our latest report paints a rosy picture for the consumer sector within Middlesbrough, with its current fortunes and short-term prospects looking very positive.

“While there could be various factors around this performance, it is worth noting that throughout 2017, footfall data has showed that the city experienced growth in numbers of shoppers despite the national trend being negative.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “This enormously encouraging report confirms and underlines what we already know about our city centre.

“We clearly laid out our ambition for city-scale investment and development in our Investment Prospectus and that strategy is already bearing fruit.

“These figures are the clearest indication possible that our vision is delivering tangible, sustainable results.

“This hasn’t happened overnight but is the result of years of hard work, ambitious forward thinking and innovative partnerships.

“We continue to work with the commercial and retail sectors to re-balance and strengthen our city centre economy, and developments like those at Centre Square and the Tees Advanced Manufacturing Park will add yet more employment and footfall.

“This is an exciting time in Middlesbrough’s history, and there is a great deal more to come.”

National retail chain Forbidden Planet has taken a new five year lease on its Middlesbrough store.

Acting on behalf of landlord Contract Experts Limited, Teesside independent commercial property consultancy Dodds Brown secured the lease renewal to Forbidden Planet International on the retail unit at 41 Dundas St, Middlesbrough TS1 1HR, part of the town’s Dundas Shopping Centre and Indoor Market.

With stores in 17 locations in the UK, Forbidden Planet International is one of the world’s largest and best-known science fiction, fantasy and cult entertainment retailers. On the back of the new lease, the Middlesbrough store will undertake a refurbishment this Summer (2018).

“We are delighted that such a well-known national retailer has recognised the strengths of its location in the Dundas Shopping Centre, and renewed its lease,” says letting and managing agent and Dodds Brown Senior Associate Partner Richard Wilson.

“In 2017, the shopping centre recorded a major boost in visitor numbers, achieving record footfall in three months, reversing a trend of declining visitor numbers over the past five years.

“Many of our smaller occupiers have also benefitted significantly from the recent business rates revaluation, as they fell below the small business threshold,” continues Mr Wilson.

“It’s a good time for retailers and leisure operators to be looking to acquire property, so we are very keen to discuss future opportunities in the Dundas Shopping Centre.”

Dundas Shopping Centre is home to many well-known local independent stores, like The Festival Shop, Tik Tok, Homefair Blinds, Buckshees Military Surplus, Kindamagic and LD Printing.

It is also home to Dundas Market, Middlesbrough’s only indoor market, with more than 25 traders selling a wide range of goods and services including Indian food, traditional sweets, ladies wear, fashion accessories, handmade gifts, furniture, party planning and tattoos.

Middlesbrough’s Cleveland Centre is looking forward “with confidence” to a positive 2018 after bucking a national retail trend and increasing footfall by nearly five per cent during 2017.

Home to more than 60 stores, the town’s largest shopping centre reported positive trading across all sectors, with Perfume Shop, Topshop, H Samuel, Toytown and ShoeZone all reporting that trading was up.

The opening of a new luxury retail store by Flannels, together with high street giant Sports Direct and clothing retailer USC, combined with the hotel expansion of the neighbouring Holiday Inn Express further boosted figures.

The festive season was also a huge success with Cleveland Centre welcoming more than one million visitors through its doors during December including around 500,000 in the final seven days before Christmas.

Centre manager Graeme Skillen said: “It’s well documented that these are challenging times for town centre retailers, with shopping centre football down by nearly three per cent across the country.

“So for us to increase Cleveland Centre football by 4.7% was absolutely against that national trend and a fantastic achievement for everyone involved in the centre.

“We worked hard to live by our slogan of being ‘The Centre of the community’, carrying out a series of marketing and community activities to support the range of fantastic store we have under our roof.

“Now we’re looking forward with confidence to further successes in 2018 – and we’re hopeful of attracting more big-name brands over the course of the next 12 months.”

High street brands with stores within Cleveland Centre include WH Smith, Disney, Boots, Topshop, HMV, New Look, JD Sports, H&M, The Carphone Warehouse, Costa, Vision Express, Vodafone, Virgin Media, Stormfront, Starbucks, Timpson, Lush, 02, Deichmann, Foot Locker, H. Samuel, Iceland, Poundland, Zenerjii and Poundworld.

They are complimented by local brands including Psyche2, Yorkshire Linen, Cupeno Coffee, Bubbles, Toytown and Glamour Forever.

Middlesbrough’s major economic ambitions have been boosted with it being named one of the Top 10 Small Cities in Europe by the Financial Times.

The high profile listing comes in a report entitled European Cities and Regions of the Future 2018-19 which asks the question “With Europe in flux, which locations have investment potential for the long haul?”

The report has been compiled by an FT supplement – fDi magazine – which looks at potential for foreign direct investment (FDI). Middlesbrough was listed at number nine for small cities in Europe with its strategy to attract foreign investment.

A small city is categorised as having less than 1.5m people.

Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd said: “Middlesbrough has a rich history of industry, innovation and pioneering exploration, and we’re building on that in the 21st Century with a booming city centre economy, burgeoning digital and creative sectors and a thriving University.

“This recognition further underpins our potential for global investment, and marks Middlesbrough out as a beacon of ambition, regeneration and prosperity.

“Not so long ago Boro fans were chanting about Middlesbrough being a ‘small town in Europe’ with our usual self-effacing pride and good humour. It is great to see us now being recognised for our city-scale economic ambitions beyond the UK’s borders.”

Middlesbrough Council’s Investment Prospectus is the central plank of the economic development being seen in the town’s centre – or city heart – which will see the authority invest £74m in order to unlock more than £600m of private inward investment and secure 600 new jobs.

Among the projects happening are the £22.46 million Tees Advanced Manufacturing Park (TAMP) – based on the historic South West Ironmasters site – which is aimed at high productivity cutting edge manufacturing companies looking for a prime location in one of the UK’s key regeneration areas.

Other key projects include the proposed snow centre and the building of five new office blocks to the east of Centre Square to attract 1,500 new jobs and to re-home Middlesbrough Council staff.

Courtney Fingar, fDi Magazine’s editor-in-chief said: “In an ever more competitive global investment landscape and at a time when Europe is moving into a new political chapter with continuing uncertainties, it is equally challenging and important for cities and regions across Europe to bolster their appeal for foreign direct investment.

“fDi Magazine’s rankings are the result of a detailed, in-depth benchmarking exercise to determine the European locations with the brightest prospects for future inward investment. We applaud the success of all cities and regions in these rankings.”

Proper research, understanding your costs, and having the right team are crucial if you want to succeed in business. In fact getting them wrong are the three main causes of small business failures.

You might be starting from scratch, taking a hobby full time, or moving an online business into premises for the first time, but with around half of all UK start-ups failing within five years, making sure you get everything right before you take the leap is time well spent.

David Harris, Manager at Middlesbrough’s Dundas Market uses his experience of running a busy indoor market, supporting more than 25 retail and service businesses, and the latest research into business failures, to give you his top three tips for starting a small retail business in 2018.

1. Do your research
Getting this wrong is the main reason why start-ups fail. 42% of business failures said it was down to lack of research. They had not tested their business idea, their pricing and their location well enough before they launched. Talk to as many people as you can about your idea, particularly others already running a business, and not just to family and friends who are likely to support your idea however good or bad it really is. Visit lots of locations, talk to shoppers, talk to neighbouring retailers, talk to management in markets and shopping centres. Vince Gibson who runs The Sweet Corner visited every market in the North East before he chose Dundas Market for his traditional sweet shop.

Find somewhere to test your concept, maybe at a weekly or monthly market, before committing to a permanent pitch. Dundas Market runs monthly food and craft markets, vintage and handmade markets, special markets such as Youth and Halloween Markets, and offers free trials for one week in May as part of the national Love Your Local Market campaign. Brickyard Bakery was a regular at our monthly food and craft markets before it went full time in Dundas Market.

We only allow businesses to take a unit in Dundas Market if we believe they will be successful and the idea has to be right for a value for money market. We employ a balance of trade policy to ensure traders are not directly competing with each other and we also support them with a campaign of social media, public relations and events, to encourage more shoppers and boost their profile.

2. Understand all your costs
Make sure you take account of all your business costs, including all premises costs, and do not be caught our by extra personal costs such as travelling expenses or childcare. Dundas Market offers a small number of Enterprise Units from £60 per week, which equates to just £10 a day, on short term tenant agreements. It’s a great way to fix your premises costs. Making enough money is vital to success – 29% of failed small businesses ran out of cash.

3. Get the right support
Running a retail business is a nine am to five pm, six or seven day a week commitment. You cannot do it all by yourself. You’ll need the support of family or friends, or you’ll need to take on staff to give you a break and time to visit suppliers. Having the right people in the business when you are not there is crucial. 23% of small business failures put their lack of success down to not having the right team.

There are plenty of free sources of advice to help you develop a new business. If you are under 30, the Prince’s Trust can help, and they also have good online tools, which anyone can use, to help with things like writing a business plan. Enterprise Made Simple provides fully funded pre-start business training for anyone based in the Tees Valley, as well as a number of other very useful courses and support services, including getting your business online and using social media to promote it.

A Teesside businesswoman who runs an award-winning business in Middlesbrough’s Dundas Indoor Market and in Ingleby Barwick has visited 10 Downing Street to show off her range of goods to government ministers.

Dawn Worton, owner of Harry’s Pet Emporium in Dundas Market, and of Ingleby Pet Supplies in Ingleby Barwick, visited 10 Downing Street as part of a reception for small business owners to mark Small Business Saturday which took place on Saturday, 2nd December.

Mrs Worton, who sells a range of quality pet foods and pet accessories, was selected by Small Business Saturday as one of 100 small businesses to champion.

She, and other small business owners, were welcomed by Stephen Barclay MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Baroness Fairhead CBE, Minister of State at the Department for International Trade, Claire Perry MP, Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Caroline Nokes MP, Minister for Government Resilience and Efficiency.

Mrs Worton showed off her range of high quality independent foods, toys, treats, apparel and other accessories, as well as Christmas presents, including pet selection boxes, to the ministers, and had a chance to talk to them about her business success.

She says: “It was a great honour to visit Number 10 Downing Street, helping to represent all the small businesses which are the backbone of the UK economy and to meet so many other inspirational small business owners.”

Harry’s Pet Emporium opened in Dundas Market, part of Dundas Shopping Centre, in October 2017.  To avoid confusion with her shop in Ingleby Barwick, Mrs Worton asked her 10 year old son Harry to think up a new name for her Dundas Market unit, and he came up with Harry’s Pet Emporium.

“Harry’s Pet Emporium is trading well in the Dundas Market.  It is a good location for us, as we are next to many other smaller independent traders who attract the same type of customer.  The market has built a good reputation and increases its pull with its monthly Food and Craft markets and other events,” continues Mrs Worton.

Dundas Market Manager David Harris says: “This is a great accolade for Dawn and her business.  I am sure she did us proud, representing our hard working market traders, as well as small business owners across Teesside.”