Virgin Trains to invest £100,000 in Preston business

Virgin Trains has invited local Preston entrepreneurs to take part in its nationwide POP-UP scheme on 6th December at Preston Station.

The scheme, which will see Virgin Trains invest over £100,000 worth of support into the independent businesses taking part, is offering 90 different local stores the chance to set up shop at 17 different stations along its West Coast line.

Taking to the platform from 9am to 3pm to sell its unique array of products will be All About Cheese, Heritage Kitchen Preserves, Crossmoor Honey Farm and Made In Preston who will join 90 different companies popping up between London Euston and Carlisle, as part of Virgin Trains’ largest POP-UP event to date.

Launched in 2008, Heritage Kitchen Preserves is a Preston-based company managed by Derek Jones, dedicated to creating speciality chutneys, relishes and marmalades. The local Made In Lancashire scheme brought Derek and Virgin Trains together, now he has been able to expand his customer base outside of Lancashire.

The Virgin Trains’ POP-UP initiative aims to support local businesses by offering them the chance to gain extra exposure, increased interest and larger footfall and is part of a wider business initiative. As part of this, Virgin Trains has decided to host a POP-UP event on Small Business Saturday, a nationwide campaign supported by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which encourages people to show their support for independent businesses by choosing to visit local stores year round.

As part of its pledge to back local businesses Virgin Trains is investing £100,000 in the POP-UP scheme. Each trader invited to take part in this weekend’s POP-UP event will also be offered access to the Virgin Trains Talent Academy, for networking groups and management skills building classes plus they are invited on board Virgin Trains carriages to showcase their wares along the network.

On the same day, Virgin Trains will be supporting an on-board First Class networking event between Preston and Carlisle for 40 members of the FSB. This is the first FSB networking event of its kind on a train, and the service is being offered to entrepreneurs by Virgin Trains complete with afternoon tea provided by The Sharrow Bay hotel.

Derek Jones, founder of Preston-based business Heritage Kitchen Preserves, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be working with Virgin Trains and can’t wait to pop up at Preston this Saturday. The support we’ve been offered by the Virgin Trains team has had an immeasurable positive impact on the growth of our business.”

Nicola Griffiths, POP-UP business manager at Virgin Trains, said: “We’re delighted to be inviting Heritage Kitchen Preserves to not only take part in our latest POP-UP scheme, but also reap the benefits of the £100,000 worth of investment we’ll be using to offer ongoing support for local businesses across the nation. We’re committed to supporting the local business communities in all the areas we operate in and being able to run these events on Small Business Saturday is a great way for us to encourage consumers to support their local stores.”

Gary Lovett, FSB spokesperson, added: “The FSB is very pleased to cement its growing relationship with Virgin Trains by supporting their endeavours around Small Business Saturday. The POP-UPs that are being held across the West Coast Mainline are a tremendous opportunity for small retailers and we have been delighted to support Virgin in developing these opportunities for small businesses. “Networking ‘on the move’ aboard a First Class train is a fantastic opportunity and our members have grasped the opportunity with both hands. The clear synergy between both parties in supporting small businesses to develop and grow means this project is only the first step in what we hope will be a long and successful relationship.”