Two popular local businesses have signed a deal with Teesside International today (24 February) to launch a new shop in the airport’s departure lounge to showcase a range of fantastic products from independent retailers from across the region.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen met the two Darlington-based business owners that are spearheading the new shop – Erin Harper, 26, from beauty salon Rejoy and Amber Kotrri, 26, from fashion boutique House of Zana.
The pair are working together on the concept store, named House of Zana and Rejoy, following the success of their other joint venture located on Darlington’s Grange Road. The new shop will stock around 20 local brands, covering everything from cosmetics, fashion and accessories to work from local artists and perfect last-minute holiday essentials.
The store will also give international visitors to the region and those flying out to do business the chance to pick up something special with links to the local area. It will help to champion the region’s products across the globe when coronavirus flight restrictions have been lifted and international travel is allowed once again.
The shop is being created as part of the airport terminal’s redevelopment which also includes new check-in desks, a redeveloped security area, new food and drink options and the return of duty free.
Erin said: “We have always supported each other’s businesses and I worked with Amber and many other local businesses just before Christmas for our collaborative 25 Reasons advent calendar which also contained local brands. We got the idea for this store when delivering one of those calendars, actually, and Teesside Airport seemed like a great fit.
“It has been really exciting to see our fab space take shape and it was brilliant working with the airport to make it a reality. It looks brilliant and we can’t wait to share the before and after pictures!
“I’m really excited to get up and running, to give people flying out on holiday or business an idea of how they can support local by buying great products being made right on their doorstep, and also to show international visitors from across the globe just what we have to offer.”
Amber said: “We’re really passionate about our area and the smaller independent brands that have sprung up but we know it can be particularly hard and lonely for small businesses or sole traders.
“That’s why we have been working with them on this store and in Darlington – to not only give them a shop presence but it’s also great to have created a true collective of inspiring brands and we all work to support each other in many other ways.
“We’re always on the lookout for exciting new brands that we can work with. If anyone likes what we’re about, thinks they’ll be a good fit and wants to speak to us, I’d encourage them get in touch via our social media!”
Mayor Houchen said: “Smaller, independent retailers like House of Zana and Rejoy are run by people who are truly passionate about what they do and Amber and Erin are a great example of our hard-working job creators, innovators and entrepreneurs across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.
“As we recover from the coronavirus retailers like Amber and Erin, and the thousands of independent business owners like them across our region, are going to be hugely important to our economy and the future of our high streets and communities.
“We have been supporting these fantastic businesses in lockdown thanks to the successful Buy Local Tees Valley website, getting the message out there of what goods and services have been available, as well as delivery or click-and-collect options.
“Since saving our airport from closure it has supported a growing list of local businesses, as I said it would when we brought it back into public ownership, now I am thrilled that it will be able to support some of our amazing and hugely talented independent retailers.
“I applaud the innovative thinking of Erin and Amber and their drive to support their fellow business owners. This shop is another demonstration of how local people are pulling together during a time of national difficulty for the good of others and their livelihoods.”