TRADERS and small business owners have been given the chance to showcase their stock on the high street thanks to the opening of a pop up shop.

The Pop Up Shop opened on Yarm High Street, near Stockton, with a range of items for sale including fresh flowers, make up, jewellery, art work, fashion, wool, greetings cards, bread, preserves and cakes, as well as other gifts.

The shop was the idea of Fiona Joseph, who has previously been a teacher and now works in party planning.

The 51-year-old said: "I was just driving through the high street one day and realised how many empty shops there were and it needed something.

"I spoke to people and put a post on Facebook, and everyone said it was a really good idea. I realised you have to be brave so I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go."

High streets and town centres have suffered significant blows from the departure of major retailers in recent years, with the likes of Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser and Debenhams all closing stores in the region in the last 12 months.

Rents and other costs have also made it difficult for small businesses and entrepreneurs to make a name for themselves, so Mrs Joseph wanted to create an opportunity for others to have the chance to showcase their product range.

She only got the keys for the shop a week ago, and has been supported by her family to get the project off the ground, with her husband helping with refitting the shop and the handy work, her daughter doing the social media work – and her son responsible for walking the dog.

"People do a lot of online shopping, myself included, but there's certain things that don't work online.

"If I wanted to buy a washing machine, I could get that online. But other things you don't get that personal experience that you get when you visit a shop, and the chance to look for gifts, you don't get to see things.

"We have bookings for this weekend, and we will be closed on Monday to take stock and to see if we need to change anything.

"It has been really busy so far and everyone has been able to help each other and offer advice."

For more information, email Mrs Joseph on or search Pop Up Shop Yarm on Facebook.