Leamington business owners to create ‘Covent Garden Quarter’ to bring people back to the high street

Two independent Leamington business owners have be working on a project to help bring people back to the high street.

Eleni Bradshaw, owner of Thrills of the Emporium, and Debra Whitaker, owner of Hush, both in Warwick Street, came up with the idea of bringing back a market to the Covent Garden area.

Now after a year of the idea being in the pipeline, the markets will be starting this month – with the aim of helping people rediscover shopping in Leamington town centre and supporting local businesses.

Eleni and Debra said: “The idea behind this started after we heard about the plans for the closure of Covent Garden car park. We contacted Warwick District Council to see if we could do anything positive to this end of the street to overcome the impact that the closure of the car park would have on us.

“We were concerned this end of the street would die. We thought why not create the ‘Covent Garden Quarter’?

“The Covent Garden car park site used to be the market area of the town and we thought we could run an events area and because the area behind us has history we thought about a market and the idea grew from there.

Debra Whitaker and Eleni Bradshaw in between their two shops in Warwick Street. Photo by Amanda Stacey.

Debra Whitaker and Eleni Bradshaw in between their two shops in Warwick Street. Photo by Amanda Stacey.

“This is about people rediscovering their town centre and supporting local independent businesses. The market would feature local businesses and give them an opportunity to showcase their stuff. We are also looking at events and are open to ideas – we want this to be community-led.”

In June Eleni posted on social media about bringing the markets to their end of Warwick Street and the posts was shared more than 800 times.

Eleni said: "Lots of people saw the post and were saying that they would love to take part or have a stall and that they had been waiting for something like this, something regular.

"Our first market will be an 'eco and handmade' market where there will be eco-friendly, sustainable and packaging free stalls. People who started these plastic-free businesses have been looking for a regular place."

The first market, which will be an ‘eco market’, takes place on Sunday, July 28, from 10am to 4pm, where there will be around 40 stalls in Warwick Street.

On Sunday August 4 to correspond with Art in the Park there will be a fringe event in the Covent Garden Quarter to showcase art and craft items.

For more information about the Covent Garden Quarter click here
If anyone would like to have a stall email info@thrillsoftheemporium.co.uk