Paint Gives New Life to Closed Shops


Paint may not cure the recession blues, but it has helped change the tune for one beleaguered community in the United Kingdom.

Thirteen small businesses that opened in the 1960s and were forced to close in the last decade have been given a “second life” by local artists and students.

The team spray-painted interpretations of the original storefronts that lined the once-flourishing area in Southampton, Hampshire. Murals depicting a bustling bakery, grocery store, florist, ice cream parlor and pet store were a few of the projects.

“The row of grey shutters was a pretty grim scene,” Chris Chalkley, who runs community regeneration projects and oversaw the revamp, told the Daily Mail.

“We made a huge change to the area for very little money,” he said. The cost of the makeover was £1,000 (about $1,606 USD).

Revamping the Rundown

Ann Compton, a 73-year-old owner of a nearby charity toy library, told the Daily Mail that the shops started closing seven years ago.

Southampton City Council

The area had been gray, drab and unkempt for years, according to a local charity owner, who says residents seem to be embracing the makeover.

“The estate began to get very run down, partly due to the recession and the low incomes of the people being rehoused there,” she said.

“A lot of bricks were being thrown through shop windows, and they were being broken into, which is why they all had shutters fitted.…  It's been gray, drab and unkempt for years, with the homeless sleeping in shop doorways.”

Compton said that residents seem to be embracing the new colorful facade and are even using the trash cans again.

UK's Fake Storefronts

Efforts to hide derelict conditions and economic realities aren’t new in the UK.

In March 2010, the town of North Tyneside painted nearly a whole street of fake storefronts in a recession-hit neighborhood, according to the BBC.

This summer, city councils in Northern Ireland painted fake storefronts on closed-down businesses in anticipation of the international G8 Summit, according to the Huffington Post.


Tagged categories: Artists; Building facades; Economy; Exterior painting; Maintenance + Renovation; Murals; Renovation; Spray Paint

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