The latest new retail businesses to move into the North Shields based Royal Quays Independent and Outlet Centre have added a touch of sugar and spice and all things nice to the rapidly growing shopping and entertainment visitor destination.

Namaste – A Taste of India and Sweet Memories are the newest businesses to relocate to the outlet after leaving their previous premises in Whitley Bay and Stockton respectively.

Outlet Centre Manager Matt Dawson welcomes both businesses and explains that having smaller, local businesses is changing the way that the public view the centre in a very positive light:

“We’ve actively encouraged smaller independent businesses to join the Royal Quays family and since we started this policy, we’ve went from having 17 empty units 18 months ago to having only four now. The whole feel of the outlet has changed, and the public seem to like the blend of big stores and small local traders like Namaste and Sweet Memories.

“We’ve now got a fantastic collection of different businesses here and it’s a real family destination rather than just somewhere to shop. You can come here to eat, drink, play games in our Retro Arcade and you can even take part in dance classes. All of these things give the centre a character that it’s never had before and I’m glad to say that footfall is increasing, and we have a very unique place to visit.”

Namaste – a Taste of India is run by Sangeeta Chopra. Originally her business was based on selling Indian food, spices, and ingredients together with home cooked food but the opportunity to move into larger premises has enabled her to diversify into Indian based jewellery and fashion.

The move has already paid dividends as Sangeeta is seeing new customers from the east side of Tyneside buying sari’s, jewellery and food ingredients who would traditionally travel to Newcastle’s west end to shop.

“I’ve now the space and location to provide a one stop shop for people who want clothes from designer dresses and outfits to simple bangles and jewellery items. My home cooked food is still very popular, and I have customers travelling miles to buy their favourite dishes and ingredients. Moving to Royal Quays has been great for business,” she said.

Another new shop is Sweet Memories who supply old fashioned confectionary including jelly babies, liquorice, and traditional boiled sweets.

Helen Brun commutes each day from her home in Stockton to the new shop.

“I’m from South Shields originally so I love the idea of coming back home and seeing the look on people’s faces when they see sweets from their past that they thought they would never see again like cherry lips or sherbet dip dabs. That’s why we called the shop Sweet Memories as they conjure up so many happy thoughts from our childhoods,” she said.

The business also supplies sweets and chocolate for corporate events and already they are planning their Christmas window.

“It may seem like a long way off, but Christmas is a very busy time in the confectionary business. We need to prepare now to give our customers the best products and a window display that will get them drooling.”

Also new to Royal Quays is an independent toy ship which specialises in collectable figures and a gadget shop. It adds to the existing tally of independent shops that includes Garden World, Hauticulture and Quay Furniture.

“We are very keen to attract more local independents to the centre and we are seeing things move at a very fast pace. We’ve only four units available and we’re getting great feedback from the public about how the centre has changed for the better. It really is an exciting time to be part of the Royal Quays family,” said Matt.