New independent shops will soon be gracing Wokingham town centre as Peach Place delivers on its promise to be a home to niche business that will set it apart from the norm.
Unique local independents The Blue Orchid Bakery and Tea Room; vinyl record shop Beyond the Download; and the Leafy Elephant gin bar will join Sit & Sip (an independent craft beer bar and bottle shop that has one other location in Chichester) as the next round of new businesses coming to Peach Place.
Cllr Philip Mirfin, executive member for regeneration, said: “In addition to Cook, who started fitting out their new store last week, and the Leafy Elephant independent gin bar who are due to start fit out very soon, I’m very pleased to welcome another three great new independents to the town.
“The Blue Orchid Bakery and Tea Room with their delicious homemade cakes, savouries and sweet treats, Sit & Sip who, in addition to their extensive range of craft beers and other drinks you can take away, will also offer people the chance to simply relax and enjoy a drink in their new store, and Beyond the Download an independent record shop who pride themselves on their real passion for music and vinyl that they love to share with their customers”
Cook, who are due to open in early March, and Beyond the Download will be located on the Rose Street side of the development, close to the walkthrough to Waitrose, whilst The Leafy Elephant, Blue Orchid Bakery and Sit & Sip are taking units within the new Peach Place square where they will also benefit from the new pedestrianised area with outdoor seating and space for events.
Cllr Mirfin continued: “Our vision for Wokingham remains to create a great mix of stores in the town centre with a balance between the national names, like Waterstones and Gail’s bakery, we are bringing to Peach Street and the more niche units within the square and elsewhere. Our first stores have proven incredibly popular and we’re hoping residents will embrace these new businesses as well.
“We’ve always recognised that it’s important the town has the high street names to attract regular footfall and cater for people’s daily shopping needs, but we also know that we need to offer something more unique if the town is to thrive. Wokingham already has lots of great independent stores and these new names will be a fantastic addition to these.
“I’m very pleased to welcome Sit & Sip to Peach Place. This independent company will be a great addition to Wokingham. Running an independent tasting room, Sit & Sip prides itself on offering a vast selection of quality craft beers, artisan spirits, tasting boards and speciality coffee all in a welcoming environment. Continually updating their stock to bring people the latest tastes and trends people have the opportunity to taste and stay or taste and takeaway.
“Blue Orchid Bakery and Tea Room, very much a local independent business based in Wokingham will be joining the Leafy Elephant and Sit & Sip in the new square. This is their first shop and they will be offering a fantastic range of food, including their renowned chocolate brownies and beautifully decorated occasion cakes, along with the town centres first afternoon tea destination. The perfect place to relax and enjoy some time with friends.”
“I’m especially pleased to announce Beyond the Download, another wonderful local business, who will be an excellent addition to Wokingham. They already have a dedicated following at their current location in Holme Grange craft village reflecting the excellent stock they offer and their staffs extensive knowledge of music and vinyl. This move to a larger store in the town centre will help them reach an even bigger audience putting them at the heart of the local music loving community.
“We’re also preparing to handover the keys to other new businesses soon so keep an eye out for more announcements of names in the coming weeks. Stores in Rose Street and Peach Street will continue to open individually as they are ready. However we are in the process of finalising a date to open up the new square as, due to the level of activity that will be taking place whilst tenants complete their internal work, we feel it is safer to keep it closed off to pedestrians. We’re talking to the tenants now and hope to release more dates soon.”
Elsewhere in the regeneration work is already progressing well as the council prepares to hand over the new foodstore building to Aldi so it can start fitting it out ready for opening later this summer along with the new Premier Inn hotel.