Posted 22nd June 2022
The Future’s Bright; The Future’s Competitive Socialising – Ian Thurlbeck
Wandering around Newcastle recently with my family, I was struck by both what a great place the city centre is and perhaps even more exciting, the opportunities for the North East property sector to tap even further into the competitive socialising explosion sweeping the country.
The popularity of competitive socialising is spreading far and wide. In London, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, York and across other cities in the UK, we are seeing a proliferation of city centre-based activities and events that people of all ages can enjoy – from millennials to the post-war baby boomers – with repurposed premises now the new-age crucibles for fantastic experiences and memories that linger.
So, what is competitive socialising? Competitive socialising is part of the new entertainment zeitgeist; it’s everywhere – and millions of people are taking advantage. Creative and ambitious businesses are starting up and investing in redeveloping vacant high street outlets and reimagining venues that deliver immersive, visceral experiences to take people to exciting new levels of fun and frolics, all accompanied by food and drink as secondary offerings.
From padel (indoor tennis) and axe throwing through to virtual reality skydiving and indoor speed climbing to gaming and cricket, these activities are becoming hugely popular with predictions for continued strong growth in the years to come.
While the North East hasn’t perhaps been as quick off the mark as other parts of the country in coming forward with a compelling narrative for competitive socialising, this situation is now changing as more and more entrepreneurs look to follow in the footsteps of indoor bowling operator Lane 7, Junkyard Golf and Point Blank Shooting among other trailblazers. They have all seen their businesses flourish in recent times (despite Covid) as families and friends flock to their venues to try out exciting new experiences, have fun and spend their hard-earned cash.
In Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham and Middlesborough we are currently seeing a burgeoning list of active property requirements from companies keen to join the fun with a range of fresh, innovative and memorable indoor activities.
Retail is no stranger to change and has faced many challenges. However, it has always had the capacity to move with the times and adapt to changing consumer habits and different tastes. And in today’s uncertain economic climate, it’s no different. Our own North East leisure sector can and is responding to the changing times, with more and more operators moving to offer those consumers who yearn for new experiences a whole world of exciting and fun activities – many of which are virtual reality based – to attract them into our city centres.
The North East may not have the best climate in the world, so more indoor family friendly facilities would not go amiss for those rainy days. And as our entrepreneurs and start-ups continue to take on the challenge of making more creative use of retail spaces (Lane 7 will soon open for business in Middlesbrough Captain Cook Shopping Centre and Durham, with other leisure proposals alongside), we can only anticipate lots more competitive socialising coming to down the track to venues near you, with top-quality food and beverage options all part of a seamless, unique customer experience.
For clients such as retro videogame bar operator Four Quarters, the @retail team is busy advising on a host of relevant and genuinely unique regional properties – so they can steal a march on the competition. Watch this space for more on that!
So, as I think back to my recent visit to Newcastle city centre with the family, the future for the North East really is bright. The chance is there for the taking for those with drive, enthusiasm and fantastic ideas to write a new chapter in the region’s long and distinguished retail and leisure story.
To discuss further, please get in touch with me at email@example.com