Advertising idea could mean smarter stores

Brian Sapherson who has started a business for advertising in vacant shop windows
Brian Sapherson who has started a business for advertising in vacant shop windows

AN ENTREPRENEUR has hatched a novel idea on how to smarten up the town’s empty shop-fronts – by turning them into advertising space.

Former Eastbourne estate agent Brian Sapherson started working on the scheme more than a year ago but is now ready to launch his assault on the untidy empty units across town.

The 50-year-old has approached local letting agents in the hope some will take up his offer of revamping the down-in-the-dumps stores.

He cleans up the property, gives it a lick of paint, covers the old signs and the attaches semipermeable vinyl banner adverts to the inside of the windows – transforming what are often eyesores into a useful tool for attracting businesses for local firms.

And, he believes, the scheme benefits the entire community. “The letting agents get commission on the adverts, the owner gets money while his shop sits empty which can go toward paying their business rates and the area looks better.

“It is a win, win situation really.”

The banners commonly measure between one-and-a-half metres and two metres in length and can generate anywhere between £500 and £1,000 a month for the owner of the property.

More than that, Mr Sapherson says the make-overs improve the look of the street – something which he hopes will be music to the ears of both shoppers and fellow shop-keepers.

And with Eastbourne currently falling foul of more than 60 empty units – including more than a dozen in the prime shopping area in and around Terminus Road – the idea can’t kick-off soon enough.

“I have spoken to the town centre management who are really behind the idea,” said Mr Sapherson. “I am just starting getting adverts up in Langney Shopping Centre and am set to move into the Arndale Centre in January.”

“Neighbouring shops get offered discounted advertising space and it is a good chance to local businesses to advertise in a different way. “Not everyone can afford bus stop bill boards – but these give them similar exposure at a fraction of the cost.”

For more information on how to advertise or if you have an empty shop you think is suitable for Sapherson-busting, either call 0845 835 1616 or visit

Do you think this is a good idea? What else would you like to see done with empty shops? Email us your letters at