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Pop-up Shop Doing a Roaring Trade

Pop-up Shop Doing a Roaring Trade

Date of release: 29 April 2020

It was a scene to turn Nick Knowles from BBC1’s DIY SOS green with envy. In just 48 hours, the restaurant in the WMI was transformed into a pop-up shop selling essentials.

The outlet, located in Building 11, is believed to be the first of its kind to open in the Midlands and is one of the successes of the Trust’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Latest News: Staff Member Stocking up Pop-up Shop
Staff pictured stocking up at the pop-up shop


Discussions initially focused on how to help staff faced with shopping for everyday items after a long shift amid the stockpiling crisis before lockdown was introduced. The restaurant - which was quiet because so many staff are working from home – was quickly transformed by the Estates team. Tables and chairs were replaced by shelving from store rooms and workshops, which were soon filled with everyday items, ready for sale.

Opening hours are 7am to 6pm on weekdays and from 8am to 2pm at weekends. Shortages and queues at supermarkets meant the shop was open to 10pm initially but that was scaled back as demand fell. The shop, which opened in mid-March, has proved a lifeline for staff. Stock includes squash and juices, milk, eggs, tea bags, jam, rice, bread, pasta, cereals and biscuits, while among the tinned items are beans, spaghetti, mushy peas, chopped tomatoes, tuna, corned beef, plus Pot Noodles, nappies, wipes and cleaning sprays.

Hot and chilled food is also available - breakfast sandwiches and boxed meals, with a selection of pies, casseroles and lasagnes, so staff can take meals to staff rooms or go home to heat them up. CPU are also taking orders.

Latest News: Goods on Offer at Pop-up Shop
Part of the array of goods on offer at the pop-up shop


The Trust makes no profit from the shop, as it was decided from its inception that prices would be the same as Catering paid suppliers, or lower, as goods are rounded down. The shop is now cashless to help the fight against Covid.

Donations flooded in - Warburtons brought in free loaves and crumpets, Krispy Kreme supplied doughnuts and Perkier donated cereal bars.

Gene Downes, Catering Facilities Manager, said: “Within 48 hours from having the discussion of ‘shall we get some toilet rolls?’ it was a case of ‘let’s set up a shop’. We went from serving peas and carrots to selling them!”

The shop has generated a really positive atmosphere. Marie Hayward, Supervisor at the store, said: “Coming here brings a bit of normality to staff. “We have a range of customers who visit regularly but new people are coming in all the time.”

In addition to the shop, the North Lobby and Eastside café started selling milk and bread. Eastside café is now open 24 hours a day and North Lobby has extended its opening hours from 4pm to 6pm. The Courtyard in Deanesly Centre, Westside in the Eye Infirmary and Central (above Greggs) are currently closed.

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham