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Theatre store puts song and dance into shopping

Date 13 Dec 2007

A shop in Newcastle is celebrating its 1st birthday by pledging to bring back the pleasure and personality of shopping for Christmas gifts. @Fernavenue in Jesmond is planning a series of events to encourage people to forgo the ‘push and shove' of the city centre, and enjoy shopping with friends or colleagues under one roof.

The furniture, art and gift store was set up as a social enterprise to help other people setting up in business showcase their products and promote their own concessions without high costs and overheads.

Owner Barbara Oliver is now expanding her services by offering alternative shopping events to businesses and social groups, including corporate and private events or networking occasions.

She has employed an in-store personal shopper and is now also offering a shopping service for men who have difficulty choosing the right Christmas gifts for their partners and family.

Barbara said: "After one year in business I now know that retail is a saturated market that is increasingly getting overpowered by the big chain stores and online shopping. To ensure we stay ahead of the game we have to offer something different, so I have launched some new ideas such as shopping evenings and men's only shopping services to keep our customers satisfied. Our customers feel a bit like a part of an exclusive club as a result, which is just great."

The store recently launched its corporate shopping evenings, encouraging employees to use the store as a networking occasion or alternative Christmas get-together. The first company to take part was NStar, who held a women's enterprise evening for 40 women recently at the store, where Barbara was guest speaker on the issue of being a women entrepreneur.

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