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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Tanning salon fills last empty unit in revamped Carlisle arcade

The opening of a tanning salon this week marks the final step in the revival of Carlisle’s Lowther Arcade.

Carlisle tanning salon photo
Owners Tracey and Jamie Hull in their new tanning salon

Four years ago the Edwardian shopping mall, which runs between English Street and Lowther Street, had only two tenants and was looking decidedly tired.

But a £50,000 makeover instigated by Walton Goodland, the managing agent, has seen a gradual transformation in its fortunes.

One by one the units have filled up, despite the credit crunch followed by a double-dip recession.

Glam Tan, which opened yesterday, occupies the last vacant unit.

It is a family enterprise run by Tracey Hull, of Cummersdale, and her son Jamie, 22, a time-served plumber who has given up the trade because of lack of work.

There are five tanning booths – three sunbeds and two stand-up cubicles with vibrating plates so that customers can exercise while they top up their tan.

Some have a setting suitable for people with the skin-condition psoriasis who can benefit from UVB phototherapy.

Upstairs, Mrs Hull has a shop, trading as Glam, selling handbags, jewellery and fashion accessories.

There is also a treatment room and there are plans to employ a beauty therapist in the New Year.

Mrs Hull, 41, said: “We think there’s room for another tanning salon in Carlisle. We wanted to do something as a family and I’ve always been into the fashion side.

“The unit is ideal. It’s central, the size and layout were just what we needed and it’s in a nice arcade.

“I think it will bring more people into Lowther Arcade. That can only be good for the businesses already here.”

Glam Tan is open 10am to 8pm on Mondays to Fridays and 10am to 7pm on Saturdays.

Lowther Arcade dates from 1904. Four years ago, four of the six units were empty, as was the former Yates’s Wine Bar near the English Street entrance.

The only tenants were the Circle Bar and the hairdresser Boo. Walton Goodland’s revamp involved repainting and cleaning the roof glazing to make it lighter and more welcoming and installing new fire-safety and electrical systems.

The agent offered potential tenants incentives such as a year rent-free if they took a five-year lease.

What was Yates’s is now gay-friendly nightspot Outrageous. The Changing Room, a dress agency and boutique, arrived in 2009.

The Circle Bar extended into the vacant unit next door in summer 2011 and in August last year a new cafe/bar, Bocata, opened in one of the two units fronting Lowther Street.

This April Boo moved into the second unit facing Lowther Street leaving its old premises vacant until Glam Tan moved in. The former Carr’s Jewellers facing English Street remains vacant but is not strictly part of Lowther Arcade,

Stephen Sewell, a director of Walton Goodland, said: “This is the first time in eight or nine years that it has been fully let, which we are delighted about.

“Walton Goodland have let a lot of shops recently, not just in Lowther Arcade.

“It is a combination of landlords being realistic about rents and independent local retailers being increasingly willing to take units.

“They take the view that we’ve been into an economic downturn for four years and they have got to get on with life. If they can get a good deal to get in somewhere, they’re doing it.”

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