Stack Seaburn is all stacked up as it welcomes 700,000 visitors in first year of business
and live on Freeview channel 276
Stack opened on the site of the former Seaburn Centre in September 2020 and is now celebrating being fully let and creating more than 200 jobs.
Despite opening during the pandemic, the shipping container village has become a huge hit with its mix of street food offerings, lifestyle businesses and entertainment, with more than 700,000 people having visited in the first year – with much of that being with limited capacity due to Covid restrictions.
And now all of its 12 units have been filled by independent businesses, following a carefully curated procedure to ensure that the right mix of traders took up residence.
Gemma Dishman, marketing and special projects manager for the Danieli Group which owns Stack, said the emphasis has always been on attracting the right kind of operators to the venue, which holds 600 people with restrictions and 2,000 without.
“It was very important to us from the outset that we attracted businesses for the external units that would not offer traditional retail products which are, increasingly being purchased online,” said Gemma.
“Our focus has been on recruiting lifestyle businesses such as the barbershop and brow bar, or Woofs N Scruffs who complement their traditional retail offer of dog supplies with dog grooming and self-serve dog baths.”
Gemma added that food has always been at the heart of the operation, with Sunderland now boasting everything from Greek gyros to brownies, to up market kebabs provided by former MasterChef The Professionals contestant, Matei Baran.
The container village has also given new businesses a start, notably 19-year-old Laura Benson who has opened the brow bar, Arch.
“The small units and low rent at Stack have made this all possible,” said Laura. “I have received so much support from the Stack team including marketing and business start-up advice. This gave me the confidence to make my business idea a reality and I now have a regular client base that continues to grow.”
Danieli Group CEO, Neil Winch, said he was delighted with the success at Sunderland, particularly the boost that the development had given to the local economy.
“Stack is a hub where independent businesses can prosper and we do everything we can to drive footfall to the venue to ensure they all have the opportunity for success,” he said.
“We spend over £20k a month on free entertainment for our customers to keep bringing them back time and time again. We also support the traders with marketing through our social media channels, emailers and our big screens to help raise their profile.
“We’re delighted that all of this activity has helped grow their businesses and given the confidence to new traders to fill up all the available units.”
Next year is due to mark the start of phase 2 of the shipping container village. The next phase will see more containers being installed at the rear of the first phase. Instead of independent shops, it will have larger containers for events, functions and experiences.
It all forms part of the wider seafront regeneration scheme aimed at improving Roker and Seaburn for Wearsiders, while also attracting people from outside of the area.