There may be three Harry Potter shops on Shambles, but it seems that is not the only street where business magic is happening.
Two empty York shops were given a makeover, with vinyl window images showing what they might look like as new businesses.
And in both cases they have transformed into exactly what was shown on the picture.
The former Sam News newsagent on Jubbergate was empty for a while. Then it was given a makeover with a shop ‘jacket’ which depicted a delicatessen brimming with fresh food.
It’s now Source Deli – a delicatessen and café from the same team behind Source Restaurant on Castlegate.
Similarly, the Akash Tandoori Takeaway closed on North Street. Its exterior was transformed with vinyl images showing a smart modern café. And hey presto, it is now Tah Tien, a Thai street food restaurant.
The shop dressings are a programme by the York BID (Business Improvement Programme).
“It is great to see these empty premises now thriving again after we applied the shop jackets,” said Carl Alsop, York BID operations manager.
“The fact that these two both became the businesses we depicted is an added bonus! But it does show the scheme helps to attract new tenants.”
A positive addition
Adam Lyons, owner of Source Deli, said the fact that a deli was depicted on the old newsagent windows wasn’t the reason they chose the building. But he believes the shop dressing programme does make a difference.
“It’s clearly a positive addition from the BID to make the vacant buildings of York look more attractive,” he said.
“They are working with small business owners to find new uses for these outlets.”
Adam said Source Deli had flourished this year after they extended the café offering. Diners particularly love the American-style deli sandwiches on offer.
The Centre for Cities recently revealed that York has the fewest vacancies of any British high street apart from Cambridge.
But there have been a series of high profile closures recently. The BID launched the window dressing programme for vacant shopfronts in 2017.
Executive director Andrew Lowson said: “The window dressing is a quick and effective solution that minimises the unsightly presence of a vacant shopfront when changing over occupancy and maximises the incentive for another business to set up trade in York.”