One in eight shops in the United Kingdom currently stand empty. On the one hand it’s the credit crunch that trebled the number of empty shops, on the other hand it’s the emergence of suburbian mega malls and the Internet shopping boom. “Shopping experts warned that the high street will never be the same again.” UK-based Shopjacket claims to have a solution to the problem of empty shops on main streets. By using three-dimensional bespoke panels, the young company transforms unoccupied retail spaces into store fronts that look like they’re in use.
Shopjacket’s founders are designer Neil Wilson and commercial property consultant Paul Murphy. They noticed the increasing number of vacant shops in main streets across Britain and decided to combine their forces. “People want to see shops on their high street”, they argue. Wilson and Murphy think Shopjacket could bring back life onto the quiet streets and therefore contribute to improvement of local communities and businesses. With a fake store front you won’t bring back shoppers. Nevertheless, “people say it’s just a sticking plaster, but sticking plasters heal wounds, and that’s what empty shops are. (…) They’re wounds that are damaging our high streets. We want to work with businesses to provide a complete service that can help regenerate our town centres”.
The video below shows one of their first projects — the creation of a hairdressing salon in North Sields. Interestingly, Shopjacket can provide opportunities to advertisers who can possibly claim an entire store front.