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Pop-up shop on a roll at Leeds Corn Exchange

A pop-up roller-skating shop is celebrating a year of popping up in Leeds’s Corn Exchange.

Roller Girl Gang, founded by British Roller Sports Federation qualified instructors, Mel Blackwood and Len Laird, started the business to ensure they could continue skating around their busy jobs as primary school teachers.

Beginning by forming skating classes across Leeds, the duo formed the first women-only roller-skating event in the UK in 2015. Building in popularity, attendees increasingly asked where they could source professional roller-skating equipment.

Understanding the need for roller-skating enthusiasts to try on the best skates in the business from America, the duo decided to search for a central Leeds venue to launch a pop-up shop to offer skating equipment from global suppliers.

Unable to commit to a long-term tenancy, the business owners requested they hold a one-off event in Leeds Corn Exchange in autumn 2018.

The pop-up shop was so successful, the firm have continued to hold an event once a month, celebrating its business birthday with a Valentines Roller Disco in the iconic Leeds building.

Cofounder of Roller Girl Gang, Mel comments:
“We began looking for a place to hold our first pop-up shop and it was important to us to find one which champions independent businesses and brands. A one-off pop-up shop was a new concept for Leeds Corn Exchange, but they took a chance on us. One year later we’ve become a regular fixture with roller skating enthusiasts visiting from across the north of England and further afield.

“What we really love at Leeds Corn Exchange is the sense of community amongst the independent businesses. The tenants comment on how we bring a high energy and the added footfall benefits us all.”

Centre manager for Leeds Corn Exchange, Adam Warner said:
“Roller Girl Gang was the first pop-up shop we accepted which has proven to be a successful model ever since. The Rushbond team and I have seen how important flexibility is to independent businesses and our ‘try before you buy’ model has worked well for a few firms now.”

Released Records were the second company to enjoy a pop-up in Leeds Corn Exchange last Christmas and enjoyed such success that they committed to a long-term tenancy thereafter.

Roller Girl Gang will return to Leeds Corn Exchange on 30th November and 14th December this year.