'This is just what Sunderland needs' - say STACK traders as they prepare to open shop
After months of construction and a delayed opening due to the pandemic, the £3million shipping container village will open its doors to the public on Friday, August 28.
More than 20 recycled shipping containers have been used in the build and will now house a host of food and drink traders, as well as lifestyle shops and facilities. Seating is all outdoor in a central plaza overlooking a stage which will be providing free entertainment throughout the year.
It’s a sister site to the first STACK in Newcastle, which has proved hugely successful as a multi-purpose venue.
Many of the businesses who’ve taken up units are Sunderland based, and jumped at the chance to part of something which looks set to help revitalise Seaburn.
Among them is Natalie Brand, whose business Healthy Thaim has built up a firm following at its first shop in Thorney Close where many of its dishes are zero syns for those following a Slimming World diet.
Speaking about why she’s invested in the site, Natalie said: “The one in Newcastle has a brilliant vibe and it’s something the seafront has been lacking. This is just what Sunderland needs. We specialise in healthy food and that, in particular, is something that’s been missing in Seaburn.”
Foroozan Asl is manager at Cafe Farah in High Street West which is closing in the city centre to focus on Farah’s Italiano in STACK.
Visitors to their unit can look forward to fresh pasta and piadina, which are flatbread Italian sandwiches.
Foroozan said: “We’re really excited to be part of this, there’s been so much buzz about STACK. We’ve told all our customers we’re coming here and they say they are looking forward to coming. You don’t see the fresh pasta on many menus, or piadina, so we’re bringing something different.”
For sweet tooths, business partners Kaye Riley and Jessica Everest are branching out from their Corner Deli in South Shields to open their Little Cakery at STACK selling cupcakes, tray bakes, cheesecakes, cookies and more, as well as family picnic boxes to take on the beach.
"This is such a fantastic location,” said Kaye. Jessica added: “We did a lot of deliveries in lockdown, especially for afternoon teas, and a lot of Sunderland customers were asking if we could deliver to them.”
Mexican food lovers, meanwhile, are in for a treat with Chapos Tacos which will be selling homemade soft tortillas using authentic Mexican spices. Gabriela Chapman, from the company, said: “I’m Mexican, and our chefs are as well, so we can really provide an authentic Mexican experience. You go into chain Mexican restaurants and it’s just not the same.
"My husband is from Sunderland so I know this is something Sunderland needs. There’s no where else like it in the city and it really makes people want to stay in Sunderland."
Among the lifestyle units is Woofs ‘n’ Scruffs dog parlour, as well as The Game Cabin, both are run by married couple Mark and David Potts-Brown.
The dog parlour has dog washing stations – like a dog car wash – where people can wash their pets straight from the beach, as well as an on site dog groomer. Visitors will also be able to buy a whole host of dog accessories, as well as dog cakes and dog ice cream.
It’s an expansion of their businesses in Seaham, Washington and Durham.
Mark said: “People love their dogs and this is a great dog walking spot. We think the dog washes will be popular as it saves people having to take their dogs home and messing up their bathrooms trying to wash them.
"We’ll also be running a community dog walk every Sunday from the shop, which will last 45 minutes and is a way to meet other dog walkers.”
The Game Cabin, meanwhile, will have gaming facilities, as well as games to buy and will be offering coding sessions, as well as party facilities.
Greek food will also be represented at STACK with Acropolis, which is popular across the region thanks to their dishes such as gyros and halloumi bites.
Owned by Yusuf Yenil and brothers Filip and Viktor Tachan, the Acropolis at STACK Seaburn is their third permanent unit and follows the success of sites at Grainger Market and STACK Newcastle.
The team have already traded in Sunderland with stands at The Tall Ships Races and Software Centre. Filip said: “A lot of people who buy from us in Newcastle are from Sunderland, so we know the demand is there.”
Friday’s opening marks Phase 1 of STACK. Phase 2 will begin next year and will take the total of containers to more than 80.
It’s part of the wider Seafront Regeneration Scheme, which also includes the construction of the 40-bedroom Seaburn Inn on the site of the old Pullman Lodge, phase 2 of Pier Point, the creation of 12 beach huts and new cafes created in the Victorian tram shelter in Seaburn.
Related article: For the full list of food and drink traders see here.
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