THE first group of budding retail entrepreneurs have begun trading from Sidcup’s new box shop.

In a bid to rejuvenate Sidcup High Street, the pioneering scheme offers 15 upcoming businesses the chance to trade in the town centre unit for free during a four-week period.

The box shop itself is a single shop containing different shaped boxes inside, which businesses can offer their goods for sale from.

Goods already on sale vary from baby clothes to jewellery to vintage furniture and even customised shoes.

Town centre regeneration manager Rozina Akram told News Shopper: “The businesses are all at a different stage of development.

“Some are dipping their toe in the water whilst some have been going round craft fairs in the past.

“We need to work together and collectively and all of them contribute towards running it.”

News Shopper: Jodie Rowell selling her baby items. Her business is called My Little Sparkle Boutique.

Trading from the box shop minimises the risks for start-up businesses and allows sellers to see whether there is a market for their products.

Mrs Akram added: “After trading here there is a potential move from a box to a bigger size store or maybe on to the High Street.”

The box shop is supported by Boris Johnson’s Outer London Fund, which also sees 34 Sidcup businesses provided with funding for shop front improvements.

A further 50 traders will be offered businesses support free of charge, including advice on business planning and marketing.

Bexley Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic development Councillor Linda Bailey said: “I do hope lots of residents will come along to the new box shop and help to support this and other businesses on the high street.

“With Waitrose opening soon, the new gym coming into the former Co-Operative supermarket and more announcements due in the coming weeks, the revitalisation of Sidcup High Street really is underway.”

Spaces are still available to trade from the box shop between August 13 and September 7 and between September 10 and October 5.