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Trader's Christmas hope for Wincanton emporium is dashed

By Western Gazette - South Somerset  |  Posted: November 01, 2012

Tracey Seager

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A trader has been forced to scrap her dreams of bringing up to 40 traders to Wincanton in time for Christmas.

Tracey Seager has been trying to open The Purple Poppy Emporium on High Street for six months.

But after delays and setbacks in rent negotiations she has now missed the window of opportunity to get set up for crucial pre-Christmas trade.

Ms Seager, 45, of Balsam Fields, said: “I could have had the doors open within two weeks and I would have had 20 businesses.

“But I haven’t been able to get a suitable rent and it’s not really feasible to do now until Easter as I will miss the Christmas rush – to set up in January and February would be commercial suicide.”

Ms Seager had hoped the emporium would act as an “incubation centre” for up and coming retailers.

She unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a lease for the former Co-operative store site on High Street, and talks over three units at the back of Applegarth Arcade also failed due to what she felt were unmanageable maintenance costs.

The aspiring entrepreneur also tried to get a lease at the former Green Dragon pub but she said the owner wants to sell the building and could not even give her a temporary lease until Christmas.

Ms Seager said: “It’s such a shame, I’m very disappointed.

“It seems crazy that there are all these empty places around town yet it’s so hard to get a lease. I’ve been recommended a good place in Sherborne but the whole point of me doing this was because I want to boost trade in Wincanton; I want to get people coming to shop in the town.

“At least I know that I can secure traders as I had a lot of interest, so I’m not giving up. Hopefully I can get it sorted in time for Easter.”

A spokesman for The Co-operative said they would be willing to look at Ms Seager’s ideas.

A statement said: “The Co-operative is committed to supporting the local communities in which it operates, and Tracey Seagar is welcome to put forward her own new proposals with our agent.”

It is hoped the emporium would include a tearoom and a marquee at the back of the building to host craft fairs, holistic therapy groups and specialist workshops.

A similar project in Yeovil has been so successful it expanded into neighbouring premises eight months after it opened in July 2011.

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