Retail consultancies tackle independent stores in new series of BBC’s Mary Queen of Shops

The third series of BBC show Mary Queen of Shops is set for broadcast next month, with the involvement of a number of retail design consultancies.

The BBC Two series sees former Harvey Nichols creative director Mary Portas work to reinvigorate struggling independent stores across the UK. The next series is set to begin on 7 June.

According to production company Optomen, this series, which takes in a broad variety of independent shops, sees Kinnersley Kent work with a greengrocer in Hoylake, Merseyside, Black Sheep work on a village store in Corfe Castle, Dorset, Sheridan & Co work on a hairdresser in Rochdale, Lancashire, and Epoch work on a DIY store in Lightwater, Surrey.

Small Back Room has worked on two projects for the series – a bakery in Raynes Park, west London, and a furniture store in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.

Small Back Room creative director Callum Lumsden says the consultancy started working on the show in September 2009, after being recommended. He says

’One of our shows deals with a bakery and we had done a bakery before. Mary and I got on very well so we were asked to do another show, with the furniture store.’

Filming on the series took place between October 2009 and March this year.

Lumsden says the bakery – Maher & Sons run by Angela Maher – initially ’felt like a low-end version of Greggs’. He says Small Back Room developed a concept that would see the bakery make its own artisan breads on-site ’rather than just selling an abundance of sticky buns and cakes in lurid colours’.

The consultancy also sourced ’found’ merchandising units, including using a stencil bought at a car-boot sale, and created the strapline ’Give us our daily bread’.

However, Lumsden says, ’Angela has a very strong personality and the simple truth is that she and Mary just clashed. The result of which meant that Small Back Room’s input was, well – let’s just say that I’m sure the final edit will make for great, if not toe-curling viewing.’

The consultancy’s work for the furniture store saw the shop’s name changed from Under the Moon to 37 Old London Road – the store’s address.

Small Back Room looked to create a store that reflected a new business of providing vintage up-cycled furniture.

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