Discovering a small retail park with a host of excellent independent businesses in rural England, creating a perfect commercial hub, was a particularly fine surprise (2min read)
The Barn at Assington was an unexpected surprise, in the middle of a small Suffolk village. Created by a local man named Trevor, who owned the land and the adjacent caravan park, The Barn At Assington boasts a farm shop, cafe/restaurant, hairdressers, dog groomers, florist, interior designer, even an aquatic centre. Considering many small towns are struggling to hold on to shops selling even basics commodities, to find a village, population 402 (Wikipedia), with an independent retail park is remarkable.
Once again, it appears an individual has taken upon himself to invest in this small village, bringing a vocal point, jobs and visitors. Built almost a decade ago, the buildings are of good quality and design with a layout that invites visitors to explore. How such a venture could make a large enough return on investment (RoI) for Trevor, never mind for a company with a large shareholder base that need to pay dividends, compared to many other investment opportunities is difficult to fathom. The chances are that profit was not the driving factor in developing the land and creating shops for independents, rather than the larger established retail chains.
The Barn at Assington | Image https://www.assingtonbarn.co.uk
As with Gillian Hardwood – see Creating a Successful Hub, Roger De Haan in Folkestone – blog post to follow, Richard Garrett – see Leiston and Sizewell blog post, are/were all hubpreneurs*, individuals who make places where others are willing to congregate and successfully collaborate. Trevor, who I have not interviewed, seems to be investing in more than just a business for commercial return. He is creating a hub and meeting place in his local area, where people from different backgrounds, ages and interests and all requiring different services and provisions come together and mingle.
Unfortunately, it was a Sunday morning and I was on route to a gathering so unable to spend time to learn more about The Barn at Assington. What I did find in my short time there was a welcoming, interesting and inspiring commercial hub providing a opportunities and possibilities for many people.
- Hubpreneur is a made up name for people creating dynamic spaces or clusters than can be described as a hub
Header Image The Suffolk Guide
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