Virgin Trains help preserve home grown business in Preston

Preston’s independent business community took to the train station platform as part of Small Business Saturday, to promote their wares at Virgin Trains’ largest POP-UP event to date.

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Local retailers including All About Cheese, Heritage Kitchen Range of Preserves, Crossmoor Honey Farm and Made In Preston welcomed members from the Federation of Small Businesses to Preston station, introducing them to their unique produce.

Derek Jones, owner of home grown business Heritage Kitchen Range of Preserves was invited to take part in Saturday’s event as part of his ongoing relationship with the Virgin Trains’ nationwide POP-UP scheme, which will soon see him supply his range of chutneys and marmalades to Virgin Trains for on-board food services.

He said: “Preston station was a buzz of excitement on Saturday and members from the Federation of Small Businesses showed a great deal of interest in our product range.

"Being a part of Virgin Trains’ POP-UP scheme has given us the opportunity to reach a whole new audience and in the New Year we hope to expand this further by having our preserves used on-board the trains themselves.”

Virgin Trains’ POP-UP initiative aims to support the local businesses along its West Coast line by offering them the chance to gain extra exposure and increased footfall.  Investing £100,000 into the scheme, as part of its pledge to back local stores, Virgin Trains will also offer entrepreneurs like Derek the opportunity to access its Talent Academy for networking groups and management classes.

Nicola Griffiths, POP-UP Business Manager at Virgin Trains, commented: “Small Business Saturday was a huge success. We were able to really showcase the local talent and produce of the areas in which we operate. "Supporting local businesses means that Virgin Trains cannot only give something back to the community but also improve the services at stations up and down the country. The POP-UP scheme allows commuters to sample the local culture and works to connect the country by more than just travel routes.”