The Bridges is on a mission to bring independent businesses to the forefront of the high street…


There’s big news emanating out of the Bridges recently, and it’s exactly the kind of news that will be music to ears of both small business owners and those who love to shop around independent stores. 


Here’s how the Bridges are backing independent businesses in Sunderland…


Home to many of the UK’s leading brands, along with a range of well-established independents, we’ve recently learned that the team at the Bridges are hoping to create a retail enterprise hub; giving small businesses the opportunity to have a high street presence in the city centre.

The premise is simple yet brilliantly effective; by dividing units into sections, the Bridges are pushing forward to give local businesses which may previously have traded online or at specialist events, the opportunity to sell to a wider audience at an affordable rate.

The pandemic has allowed us to consider how we want to live and work with a greater focus on self-fulfillment.

A fabulous idea that has arrived just in the nick of time for the high street, this new initiative is seeking out new age independents, those with a special idea and businesses ready to take that next step into the retail world.


Take a look at the wealth of benefits available to businesses and how it will benefit the city with this mega initiative… 


What are the Bridges proposing?














The team over at the Bridges are looking to create a shared space, created as a business incubator, for local people across Wearside and surrounding areas to develop and test their business idea. 

The idea is simple; local people would have the opportunity to take a licence on a shared space inside the Bridges, alongside similar start-ups, testing their concept to see if it is a viable business concept.



Is my business/idea suitable for the Bridges?














Whether it’s an independent bookstore selling a range of blockbuster releases or pre-loved books, a wine store stocking fabulous vinos and craft delicacies from North East breweries – the possibilities are endless. 

Perhaps it’s an artisan delicatessen stocking Northern produce or maybe a local artist showcasing a wide range of city-inspired gifts. 

This initiative is available to any business concept out there and the Bridges want to hear from you.



How can this benefit my business?














The idea of moving into a fast-paced, leading shopping centre can seem daunting at first, but there’s a wealth of support available for those interested. 

Whether it’s a flexible term on a licence agreement for up to 12 months to help your business get off the ground or the chance to benefit from a prime shopping location in the North East and enjoy significant footfall on a daily basis, the team at the Bridges are there to enable your idea to grow and flourish.

There’s also scope to offer start-ups a way to build a really strong retail presence at a price that is not only affordable, but manageable and hugely competitive compared to anywhere in the North East. 

With local mentoring, support and online marketing tips from industry experts, the Bridges will be showcasing your products, your story and your unique offering to the wider world. 

With this new initiative, there really is a tangible opportunity to grow your customer base and make a true difference to the footprint of our city.



How will this benefit the city?














The proposed idea will see local people, with local ideas join into the Bridges’ retail community, and give those a chance to be part of a business incubator in a vibrant shared space, supported by other complimentary start-up businesses and growing business together. 

We’re all incredibly aware of Sunderland’s rich heritage and culture, so this new idea from the Bridges that celebrates uniqueness, creativity and personality, will feed into the city’s growing kaleidoscope of vibrant independents.

Local independent businesses are key to bringing in entrepreneurial vibrancy and something different to the city.

We’re all well aware of how much Sunderland loves to support local, and the idea of local people spending hard-earned money with local business gives off a beautiful sense of connection to the community. 

To know that our money is supporting the local economy and supporting small business owners is a beautiful way to promote our city. 


Who do I contact to get started?

If you have a business plan and a business concept you have tested, contact [email protected] for an informal discussion around how you could access prime retail space to grow your business.



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