Blackpool barber battles back to get his own shop in town centre

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A Blackpool barber who was cut from Abingdon Street market has battled back and reopened in the town centre.

 

But re-opening was no snip for Alistair Taylor, who has had to work 14 hour days for three weeks to renovate the Topping Street shop and make it suitable as a barbers.

Alistair set up his business in 2013 in Blackpool with the help of the council’s Get Started Programme which helps people start their own businesses and encourages entrepreneurship.

He managed to get a small stall on the market with just two chairs and one sink from which he operated for three years. Then a larger pitch became available near the back entrance where a newsagent had been.

Alistair Taylor has opened his own barbers shop and hair studio in Topping StreetAlistair Taylor has opened his own barbers shop and hair studio in Topping Street

But in December last year the council told stall holders that they had to leave by June to allow renovation to take place of the market.

Alistair said although some stall holders managed to get help to find other places, the council did not understand that as a barbers he needed access to plumbing facilities. When the council said the market would not be opening in April, like other stallholders, he had to find new premises himself.

He said: “I set up in the market on July 1, 2013 following a business competition called “The Oracle Event” led by Geoff Reeves with “Get Started Business for Blackpool.

“The council purchased the market in October 2020 and then we went into lockdown in November. I was able to trade through December but locked down again after Christmas.”

He had originally been in Abingdon Street Market but the closure for refurbishment left him high and dryHe had originally been in Abingdon Street Market but the closure for refurbishment left him high and dry

He said at that point the stall holders were told they needed to sign new leases, but when he queried his, he was told the market would be closing later in the year.

“Initially they were unaware that I was a barbers and it became an issue that I would need water and plumbing facilities.

“I rang the council towards the end of February and mentioned how when we open in April, I would be able to save up for a shop. But they called me back on February 25 and told me that the market would not be not opening on the 12th and that I was to empty my unit as soon as possible.”

He saw that the former Cake Tin Delights cafe at 111 topping Street was vacant and managed to get the lease and transform it into Alistair’s Barber and Hair Studio.

Alistair who founded his business after a Get Started event at the Oracle, spent three weeks getting his premises readyAlistair who founded his business after a Get Started event at the Oracle, spent three weeks getting his premises ready

He said: “With 14 hour days and three weeks work I managed to transform the old cafe into a barber and hair studio.

“It’s great but a lot of my old customers just don’t know where I have moved to.”