New businesses pop up at Northumberland shopping centre

Small local businesses are being given a boost thanks to a shopping centre.

By David Sedgwick
Thursday, 16th December 2021, 8:00 am
John Chester in his pop up shop 'Hops & Dots' in Manors Shopping Centre, Cramlington.
John Chester in his pop up shop 'Hops & Dots' in Manors Shopping Centre, Cramlington.

Manor Walks Shopping and Leisure, in Cramlington, has rolled out a new initiative that aims to provide new opportunities for small local businesses who have always dreamed of opening their own shop.

The Pop Up Shop idea is designed to make retail more accessible for all types of new businesses, making it easier for them to grow by trialling bricks and mortar and giving them access to retail space at the centre.

Officials say the opportunity is totally inclusive, so no hidden costs for amenities such as water and electricity or furnishings.

Applicants also have access to Manor Walks marketing and PR support.

One of the first to try out the new scheme moving into the centre in December for three weeks is John Chester, co-founder of Hops and Dots Brew Company.

John said: “My business partner Hugh Grime and I founded the brewery in 2018 with a shared love of beer and have only ever sold our product online.

"When we saw this opportunity at Manor Walks through being involved with their Makers & Bakers event – a market that takes place every month in the centre for a range of independent traders – we jumped at the chance to ‘play shop’.

“It’s a great way to test out the market without fully committing to premises initially. The experience has been so fantastic that we hope it will lead to us actually securing permanent premises here at Manor Walks.”

Hops and Dots Brew Co. was founded with John’s unique love of a combination of beer and braille.

Before founding Hops and Dots John was renowned for his knowledge of braille, more specifically the production and use of braille technology and he still teaches the visually impaired in his spare time.

The beers they produce are intended to be accessible as not only are they tasty but they also feature braille on the beer cans.

The Hops and Dots Brew Company can be found at Manor Walks Shopping & Leisure until Christmas Eve or online at

Anyone interested in more information regarding the Manor Walks Pop Up Shop should email [email protected]