Bluewater - PIK interior

Source: Produced in Kent

The store includes ‘tasting stations’ and demonstration areas

Dartford’s Bluewater shopping centre is tapping into the local shopping trend with a new retail concept showcasing an array of Kent food and drink brands.

The 2,000 sq ft store is set to be in place for six months, in which new brands will be introduced on a rotating basis to keep it “fresh and exciting for guests”.

The concept is the result of a partnership between landlord Landsec and local trade organisation Produced in Kent.

The store includes ‘tasting stations’ and demonstration areas for guests to “sample some of the best produce from across the region”, according to Landsec.

The first brands include Shepherd Neame, Kent Crisps, Kentish Pip, Maidstone Distillery, Coffee Bean Shop, Fudge Kitchen and Meopham Valley Vineyard.

“We strive to create places which celebrate the best in retail, and we know many of our guests are making a conscious decision to support their communities by shopping locally,” said Landsec portfolio director Rob Hardie.

“Our latest concept at Bluewater will elevate local brands in a creative and dynamic way. Produced in Kent highlights Landsec’s intention to create opportunities for small business that inspire consumers, and once again highlights our vision to create destinations that embrace and celebrate the rich variety of products and entrepreneurs on our doorstep.”

Produced in Kent CEO Floortje Hoette said: “We are thrilled to finally have a physical space in Kent to showcase our members’ products, but also to explain to the customer what the Produced in Kent logo stands for: high-quality, locally produced sustainable food and drink with a clear Kent signature.

“We are enormously proud of what our producers are achieving in a challenging trading environment – the shop is a great way to convince the public to buy more local and support them.”