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Demand for shop units shows business is booming in Boston

Business in Boston is alive, kicking and booming. A new self-contained retail and business complex in the town centre has created 23 expanding and new businesses.

The development has been the brainchild of entrepreneurial born and bred Boston couple Paul and Amy Wilkinson, who have invested their own money in the redevelopment of the library, council offices and sessions house complex.

Their vision and hard work has been praised by Boston Borough Council Leader, Cllr Peter Bedford. He said: "This spirit of endeavour is exactly what Boston needs. It is exceptionally good news that so many businesses have been given the opportunity to set up or expand. It shows that Boston is open for business, and open to new businesses. Anything which increases Boston's town centre shopping offer, making it an attractive place to visit, is good news."

The indoor shopping mall, which also has public toilets and access for disabled people, is in the final stages of development and all 22 units have been let.

Paul said: "We could have let the shop units ten times over. We knew there would be this sort of demand."

Price is the major factor - for just £50 a week some businesses will set up in the smallest units.

"These are new businesses generated by entrepreneurs who will be able to begin trading for just £50. Once they have made £50 a week they are in profit," said Amy.

The businesses range from a two-unit centre for toddlers with a soft play area to a pet food supplier and from a three-unit e-cigarette store to handmade jewellery (see below for full list of businesses).

There will also be a coffee shop with indoor and outdoor areas.

The shop units are all self-contained and all served by a central walk-through area leading to a courtyard to encourage browsing.

Amy said: "We have not let to any business which could tread on the toes of any existing business in town. If market traders are interested in having a shop we will make it a condition that they cannot do that in order to quit their market stall. We do not want to do anything which damages the town's existing shopping offer."

The smallest unit has been let to a jeweller who makes her own merchandise. The units will open out onto Red Lion Street and Fountain Lane, providing a retail link between the Market Place and the Wormgate shopping area.

Paul said it provides an outlet for artisan entrepreneurs and will lead through to an open-air courtyard where shoppers will be able to pause and relax and enjoy refreshments.

Before going into property developing, Paul built up one of the most successful pest control businesses, Pestforce, and sister companies, Washforce and Lockforce.

Paul sold the business and retired - or so he thought. But he could not relax to a life of idle contentment for long and saw an opportunity for them to leave their legacy in Boston, the town they love.

The development is in three distinct areas - the indoor shopping mall with new public toilets and a relaxing outdoor courtyard, a business centre and luxury flats.

The County Hall Business Centre is in the former County Hall building off the Market Place which still houses the town library. Paul and Amy have agreed the library can continue to operate from the building and have waived the rent for ten years.

On the upper floors are 19 business units large and small. All but four have been let to a variety of businesses, ranging from freelance children's clothes design to a newspaper and from an employment agency to counselling and psychotherapy.

Paul explained that he is keeping the office rents low to encourage new start-up businesses and businesses looking for room to expand. Office suites still available range from £70 per week to smaller rooms available for just £25 a week where all that is required is a desk, a phone and internet access. The car parking area to the rear of Fountain Lane has been extended. 

An ornate staircase leads to a glass-roofed atrium waiting area leading off to the offices complex, which is light and airy with pleasant 1930s styling and has shared facilities including two kitchen areas. The building has been comprehensively refurbished to modern standards while retaining its architectural merits.

The more modern adjoining office block is being converted into three floors of spacious two and three-bedroomed flats - three on each level. Many, especially the penthouse flats, have spectacular views of Boston Stump and the Centenary Methodist Church. All will have telecon visitors-calling facilities. They will be available to let soon.

"What a view to wake up to each morning. These are the best views in Boston," said Paul, who already has some tenants waiting for the flats.

At ground level the space is being turned into retail units to create an indoor shopping mall. Paul and Amy plan to call the shops and residential building Waterfall Plaza with a giant waterfall graphic from roof level to pavement.

"We wanted to inject a little glamour and glitz - a taste of Hollywood in the centre of Boston; after all we are linked with Boston, America," said Paul.

He has no firm plans yet for the gothic-styled grade-two listed sessions house and wants to hear from anyone with suggestions. Amy has her sights set on a historic weddings venue for ceremonies, receptions and accommodation. Paul may be thinking along the lines of a nightclub or pub, but is open to any other ideas.

You can contact Drurys Estate Agents on 01205 350 889 about the business units and flats and with ideas for the sessions house.

Tumble Totz, arts and crafts, Second Time Around (quality used clothing and accessories), Rachael's Treasure of Jewels, gents' hairdressers, blinds, fabrics, Vape Store Boston (e-cigarettes), Swarouski Crystals, gadgets, jewellery, Hungry Pet Supplies, fitness and body building, florists, Boston Toy Emporium and Mymia Jewllery, Crumbs Coffee Hut.

Paul Wilkinson Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Developer Paul Wilkinson - he wants your ideas for the future of the Sessions House in Boston.

More Crumbs Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
A trio with vision: Debbie Watts (left) and Carol Rate, of Crumbs cafe, with Waterfall Plaza joint owner Amy Wilkinson. Debbie and Carol are planning to open a new associated business in this unit currently undergoing refurbishment. It will serve takeaway and eat-in meals, with access to the open-air courtyard area for fair-weather diners.

Room with a view Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window  Lincs-PL Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
A room with a view - Amy takes in the panorama from the window of one of the penthouse flats. Lincs-PL is an advice, translation and money transfer service with an office in County Hall. It offers advice to newcomers from Eastern Europe about the rules and regulations in their new home in Boston. Iga Paczkowska welcomes new clients.

Boston Express in new office Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Piotr Ozga, editor and publisher of Boston's weekly Polish newspaper, Boston Express, in office three at County Hall.

CDA Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
CDA - Criminal Defence Associates - have settled into their new office at County Hall. Pictured are legal representatives Amie Maddison and Karolina Buczek (on the phone).

Office to let Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
One of the offices still available. It comes with a splendid view of the most historic parts of old Boston.

Lisa Cain and Bonnie Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Lisa Cain, freelance designer of children's clothes. She has worked for Reebok, Peacocks and Debenhams. She shares her homely office with Bonnie the Labrador.

Sessions House Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
The sessions house - for weddings, a nightclub... or something else? You decide.