Landsec has announced a new retail concept for Bluewater, which will showcase an array of independent brands within a dedicated space. The project is a partnership between Landsec, the local trade organisation, Produced in Kent, and its members. The new space will serve as a destination for Bluewater’s guests to sample some of the best produce from across the region.
The 2,000 sq ft store is set to be at Bluewater for six months, featuring dedicated demonstration spaces, tasting stations and other interactive features. It will work on a rotating basis and regularly introduce new brands, to keep the destination’s and concept’s offer fresh and exciting for guests, and to provide a physical platform for as many brands as possible.
Several businesses have been introduced, including Shepherd Neame, Kent Crisps, Kentish Pip, Maidstone Distillery, Coffee Bean Shop, Fudge Kitchen and Meopham Valley Vineyard with more looking to join as Christmas approaches.
Rob Hardie, Portfolio Director for Co-Owner and Asset Manager of Bluewater, Landsec, commented: “We strive to create places which celebrate the best in retail, and we know that many of our guests are making a conscious decision to support their communities by shopping locally. Our latest concept at Bluewater will elevate local brands in a creative and dynamic way. Produced in Kent highlights Landsec’s intention to create opportunities for small business that inspire consumers, and once again highlights our vision to create destinations that embrace and celebrate the rich variety of products and entrepreneurs on our doorstep.”
Britain’s oldest brewer and independent family business, Shepherd Neame, which has been based in Kent for over 300 years, will be offering a range of beers from their extensive portfolio at the retail theatre. Kent Crisps, which partners with some of Kent’s finest producers to create a range of delicious hand cooked crisps, as well as A Little Bit Co, which creates dressings, sauces and dips infused with fresh herbs, will also be taking a space within the market, and the award-winning Meopham Valley Vineyard, producer of nine grape varieties on its own vineyard situated in the nearby village of Meopham, will be making an appearance.
Jonathan Neame, Chief Executive of Shepherd Neame, said: “As a long-term partner of Produced in Kent, we are proud to be part of this exciting new venture at Bluewater. Our county boasts some of the finest food and drink producers in the UK and we hope that the shop will offer a fantastic opportunity to showcase what we have to offer.”
Laura Bounds MBE, Owner of Kent Crisps, Kentish Oils & Condiments and A Little Bit Food Co, added: “I am delighted that Kent Crisps, Kentish Oils & Condiments and A Little Bit Food Co have all been chosen to be part of this exciting new shop at Bluewater. I am passionate about promoting all that Kent has to offer when it comes to food & drink and believe this is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the very best producers from the Garden of England. We’re proudly rooted in Kent and are looking forward to being able to bring our delicious products to a new audience, as well as giving existing customers a brand new outlet to purchase from.”
Produced in Kent’s Chief Executive, Floortje Hoette, commented: “What better way to promote all the fantastic food and drink that comes out of our beautiful county, than through our own Produced in Kent shop? We are thrilled to finally have a physical space in Kent to showcase our members’ products, but also to explain to the customer what the Produced in Kent logo stands for: high-quality, locally produced sustainable food and drink with a clear Kent signature. We are enormously proud of what our producers are achieving in a challenging trading environment – the shop is a great way to convince the public to buy more local and support them.”
This news follows the recent opening of Amazon 4-star at Bluewater, the first of its kind in the UK for the tech and retailing giant.