Popuphood: The future of high streets?

18 Jan

“These partnerships that we are making, this is the new model, its no longer going to be; just put in a big box store somewhere and hope that everyone else follows suit.”

In September 2011, Alfonso Dominguez and Sarah Filley launched popuphood, “a small business incubator revitalising neighbourhoods”. The popuphood model epitomises what we are trying build on in King Street. It represents a unified community, willing to contribute to, and support one another to help realise bigger goals.

“It’s really hard to open one small business what we need is a group that can stand together.”

And whats great? It works. They have made it work. Inspirational? We think so. Possible here? Absolutely. It doesn’t matter who we support, its the process by which this all happens that will make it a success:

“Someone’s not going to come and hand you £100,000 to open a shop. You really have to scrape and figure stuff out and work with people and collaborate and it makes people who are starting business more creative and edgy because of that.”

Have a look at their video below and see what you think.



High Streets exhibition is a must

17 Jan


The high streets exhibition taking place in The Lighthouse, Glasgow, is an excellent installation, with a diverse range of views on the situation regarding the high street in Scotland being explored.

I was asked to take part, and I am delighted a range of others who were asked from different sectors have also given their time to contribute. The reason?  The exhibition (possibly for the first time) demonstrates the complexity of the high street as a distinct entity. It is not a view focused on any one discipline or interest group, and does not suggest the panacea lies with any individual, organisation or agency. I really hope issues at the heart of the demise of town centres, comes under scrutiny, through the increased knowledge of the high street that the exhibition will provide.

If you can, make the effort to go along and see the exhibition. It is open to the public. Anybody that has an interest in our high streets in the future, and values their town, will be more aware of issues and opportunities facing them if they have seen the exhibition.

There is a private viewing on Thursday for those that were involved, but the event has been open to the public since December and continues until April.

Building A Business Model

10 Jan

It’s important when you have an idea that you want to develop that you begin to understand how it’s business model might work. But wait! Don’t be frightened off. This is about a learning process, one that you can develop over time with support from people who, through experience, can offer you more advice on how this could work for you.

Fancy giving it a try?

Have a look at this video we like which quickly explains how the Business Model Canvas works. This is the model we are currently using to build how Start Up Street Stirling might work as it develops. Why not see if you can begin to build a model around one of your ideas, or another that you thought could be successful in Stirling!

Development Workshop

6 Jan

Back in 2011…

The 13th of December to be more accurate, Architecture & Design Scotland, Stirling Council, Snook and the SUSS Ground Team came together for a further development workshop to identify which direction Start Up Street Stirling might take heading into 2012.

It was a lively day, where directed by Snook we blueprinted – or mapped out all the stages – of the service SUSS should provide in 2012.  The blueprint took up the majority of the workshop and the resulting outcomes were condensed into a report which included a list of outcomes and actions.

We discussed a range of topics, some of which included SUSS customer types, people who might be using the service. Alongside this, we need to consider how to push Start Up Street to more people in Stirling. (If  you know anyone who you think might be interested, please get them involved!)

We also developed a six month forecast taking us into June 2012 when the Olympic torch will be arriving in Stirling. In this, one of the most important things for SUSS going forward into the new year will be getting partners on board. We have had a really positive response from the public so far, and are now looking to get local business on board to really grow this venture.

If you haven’t already, take a look at our post on the recent Mary Portas High Street review, where you can get a feel for how important what we are all are trying to achieve in Stirling is. So please, get involved, get onboard, tell your family and your friends and lets get enterprising in Stirling.

King Street Vacant Properties

6 Jan

The SUS ground team have had some questions come back querying the existing buildings available on King Street. Below you can see a document we have sourced from October 2011 detailing some of these properties.

Mary Portas launches High Street Review

13 Dec

“I believe that unless urgent action is taken much of Britain will lose, irretrievably, something that is fundamental to our society. Something that has real social and well as economic worth to our communities and that after many years of erosion, neglect and mismanagement, something I felt was destined to disappear forever.” 

Whatever way you look at it, Mary Portas’s enthusiasm and ideas for the High Street chime with the very concept we are trying to build at Start Up Street.  Not just to open up shops for new ventures/entrepreneurs but to build as Mary puts it;

‘…a multi functional social and shopping street…a high street to go back to what it once was…like in the Roman times, a place to debate and meet…make a place where people want to be and trade and commerce will follow.’

As she puts it, we want to build a ‘hub of activity’ that creates a team who care about the centre of the city which is not only led by Stirling City Council but the community themselves.

Start Up Street definetly falls on the Portas side of not being about ‘100% shops’ but also about the social where we can have a whole mix of activities and pop up ventures, as well as longer term incubator initiatives.

Mary Portas today launched her High Street Review for Britain with BIS.  Inside are 28 recommendations and whilst some of the media say she didn’t consult councils/planners etc on the report, I still believe it is a good start to channel our thinking on High Streets.  

My goal is to breathe economic and community life back into our high streets and town centres. I want to see all our high streets bustling with people, services and jobs. They should be vibrant places that people choose to visit. They should be destinations. Anything less is a wasted opportunity. 


It’s exciting to think that Start Up Street’s vision and Mary’s vision align and we are attempting to build just that.  We held a development day today on how to move forward with the council and really understand just how to remove some of that red tape in practical terms, and set up a ‘town team’.  We are looking at the possibility of holding a market event and giving people the opportunity to run their ventures for a day to test the concept of a Start Up Street.

More on that tomorrow.

Workshop One – Report

12 Dec

Firstly, we’d like to reitterate how greatful we are to everyone who attended the workshops, and spoke to us on the street! If we have missed anyone out, let us know and we’ll get you added to our list! Some of the helpful people we did meet include:

Gary, Eilidh, Mandy, Robin, Mr & Mrs Bilsborough, Elaine, Gordon, Wilma, Sue, Eleanor, Philip, Kevin, Jim, Sarah, Gill, Steven, Martin, David, Joe, Carolyn, Emma, Megan, Samantha, Dawn, Clare, Stephen, Fiona, Zara, Julie, Diarmaid, Eric, Marion L, Allan, Marion M, Fiona M, Gillian, Sara, Paul, Pearl, Lauren, Stuart, Mairi, Jaqueline, Derek, Daniel, Alyson, Andy, Megan M, Ann, Deborah, Kieren, Bruce, Robert, Kay, Rodney, Susie, Cameron, Laura, Steven, Lisa, Sylvia, Mr Young, James, Karen, Nizar, Vicky & Tina!

What you’ll find below is a report about some of the learning, conversations, thoughts, ideas and opportunities that the Start Up Street ground team have pulled together.

This report should allow you to get an idea of areas where we have spotted possibilities for collaboration. If you have any more thoughts, ideas or questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Start Up Street Stirling Team

Community Services Event

12 Dec

For those of you who haven’t yet met Andy Kennedy, he is the city centre manager of Stirling Council and is championing the Start Up Street Stirling project. A few weeks ago, Andy was invited along to an event held by Community Services.

Here’s what he had to say about it:

“I was invited along to the event by Community Services. I had previously attended the forum to inform people about the Urban Ideas Bakery. They were keen to hear of progress as some had seen the activity in King Street at the time of the ‘Start Up Street’ workshop event. The Wallace Area Forum is a quarterly meeting with community representation provided by local Community Councils. Local Councillors and Police also attend. It is an opportunity for local community councils to be kept informed of issues/challenges/ opportunities/projects etc, that impact on the area, not exclusively relevant to the geographical area covered by the individual Community Councils”

Have a look at the slides Andy presented here:

An update on SUS

24 Nov

A quick update on where we are at.

We’re currently collating the report from the first prototype we ran in Stirling arcade at the beginning of September.  This will be available to read soon.

We’ve been building a process of how this works, and ensuring that we lay the foundations before we make promises that this can happen, we’ll be posting a blog soon about some of the realities of what shops spaces are available and not from information Andy Kennedy has managed to pull together at Stirling Council.

We were overwhelmed with the support and enthusiasm for the concept and the feedback and ideas we generated during the first prototype we ran in Stirling arcade.  For those of you who didn’t make it, we had a great day on the Saturday interviewing members of the public and designing some of the process to make this work with them.  We’ve created a film of the first prototype we ran in September.


We are now at the stage of organising two events, an expert day to run around King Street showcasing some other ventures that are similar to how Start Up Street might work and a development day to pull together the process and build plans for how we will run the next prototype, putting ventures into a shop.

What is Start Up Street?

11 Oct

Startup Street is a new way producing a meaningful change in Stirling; taking all the good stuff that already exists in Stirling and connecting it together in a new way. Watch the video link above to find out more.