Following the closing down of the second of two retail units in Fitzwilliam Court in Drogheda last December, Fitzwilliam properties called upon Virtual Shopfronts this month to help transform the vacant and negative looking shopfronts with the objective of bringing positivity back to the space and to inspire new business.

As is all too common in the current economy, the retail sector continues to be hit resulting in the closing down of many retail units around the country. Whilst the main cities around the country and indeed around the globe are being more resilient, satellite towns and suburbs of main cities are being badly effected.

Two such units to become the latest victims of the current climate were a former Cafe and Indian restaurant in Drogheda town. Both units have been closed since last year and the management company wanted something done with them to help bring life back to the courtyard space and to help let or sell the vacant units. After viewing some of the work we have done around the country and abroad, Fitzwilliam Properties contacted us to see what could be done.

“For us, it was a straight forward project” says our Virtual Shopfront MD, Nicholas Polley. ” We suggested a number of different types of Virtual Shopfronts that could be installed in both units and following discussions with the client it was quickly decided, from digtial mockups produced, that our Virtual Shopfront Cafe and Launderette would be installed. From there it was simply a matter of modifying our window graphics to fit each unit to scale, outputting them at very high resolution, and then getting them printed and installed.  The workflow was very smooth with little to now work on the side of the client”

With both units now fully installed, our client is extremely happy with the results which we are confident will achieve their objective. These are photos of the installed units. (Unfortunately the lovely palm tree impedes the view of our Launderette but you can still get the picture!)

If you have a vacant retail unit or units that could benefit from our Virtual Shopfronts, please contact us to discuss. You can also view our vStock library here and choose a Virtual Shopfront for your vacant retail unit.

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Back at the tail-end of January HMV on Grafton Street brought down its shutter permanently resulting in the loss of many jobs and a barrage of negative press.  But last week the vacant store was brought back to life thanks to Virtual Shopfronts who have injected new life and positivity back into the vacant retail unit and its’ high street.

With the ongoing recession claiming another high profile retailer here in the Republic of Ireland, HMV, located on one of the worlds most famous shopping streets – Grafton Street, became another casualty. When the store finally closed for good back in January another large hole appeared in one of the worlds most iconic shopping high street destinations. Few believed that HMV on Grafton Street would actually close while others believed it was inevitable due to the growing pace of developing technology. However the closure of one of HMV’s flagship stores brought more negativity to the retail sector and of course to existing neighbouring retailers and the area in general.

Last week however, Virtual Shopfronts were delighted to unveil their latest project which has transformed this vacant retail unit and brought positivity back to the the unit itself and the high street.

Speaking at the installation of the Virtual Shopfront last week, creator of this unique and innovative concept, Nicholas Polley was very proud that Virtual Shopfronts were consulted and commissioned to address the deteriorating shopfront. “It certainly is our most high profile project to date. We fully understand the history behind the closure of this iconic store and the negativity that came with it. However as you can see for yourself, our Virtual Shopfront has transformed the look of the vacant shopfront and it now makes a huge difference to the streetscape. Virtual Shopfronts are very proud to have been consulted to address the problem. Along with the export of our Virtual Shopfronts abroad, this is another milestone for Virtual Shopfronts.”

Whilst some critics may argue that these window graphics or window vinyls simply mask the underlying issue, there is no argument against that fact that Virtual Shopfronts bring nothing but positivity to a problem, that if left unaddressed, can cause more harm to the neighbouring surviving retailers. “We have had nothing but positive feedback on this latest Virtual Shopfront project and it is certainly grabbing attention” continued Nicholas. ” This in itself is a further positive angle as it will help to generate more interest from potential tenants for the space. We are confident that our Virtual Shopfront won’t be up for long as it will help to attract a new tenant, but while it is, it’s sure making a difference.”

The Virtual Shopfront used in HMV Grafton Street was chosen from our vStock library. If you have a vacant retail unit that you are looking to rent and you want to grab  attention and help inspire a new tenant to take it over, then contact Virtual Shopfronts today.

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Virtual Shopfronts are bringing positivity and life back to high streets and shopping malls around the country and Blanchardstown Shopping Centre has just become the latest one to be given a boost and have their vacant retail units transformed.

Despite Blanchardstown Shopping Centre boasting a very high occupancy rate, it still finds itself dealing with vacant retail units from time to time. No matter how high the occupany rate of a shopping centre is, having even one or two vacant retail units can have a negative impact on neighbouring retailers and the centre as a whole. Traditional methods of dealing with the problem have seen retail style stock photos combined with logos and generic tag lines being installed.  However if a shopping centre wants to grab attention and attract new tenants, then this approach is outdated and no longer works. People have become immune to this type of window graphic and vinyl and it no longer has any appeal.

So Blanchardstown Shopping Centre called upon Virtual Shopfronts to see what could be done for two current vacant units and for future ones that may become vacant. “This project was slightly different for us as it did not involve the use of any of our vStock library of Virtual Shopfronts” says Nicholas Polley, creator & MD of Virtual Shopfronts.  “When we first met with the client it was clear that they wanted something unqiue to the centre. They wanted bespoke designs and they wanted the Virtual Shopfront to be solely used for the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre, so thats exactly what we did”

The two Virtual Shopfronts, that have just been installed in the centre, were designed from simple hand sketches issued by the centre’s marketing team.  Virtual Shopfronts worked closely with the marketing team issuing draft images along the way ensuring their vision was created “It was very important that the Virtual Shopfronts clearly convey the message that Blanchardstown Shopping Centre satisfies all of its customers’ shopping needs for both their home and their wardobe. Hence the creation of the Virtual Shopfront Living Room and Virtual Shopfront Bedroom.”

Whilst the Virtual Shopfronts concept is very clever and unique in itself, the subtle yet very clear message that both these Virtual Shopfronts portray is extremely clever and will certainly grab peoples attention and when a client emails immediately after a project is complete to say “The artwork looks fantastic” you know that you have delivered.

If you have a vacant retail unit that could benefit from Virtual Shopfronts then contact us today for a free consultation and to discuss your requirements. You can also view our stock library here.

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Virtual Shopfronts are delighted to announce that we are about to install two of our Virtual Shopfronts in the following vacant retail premises in downtown Toronto.

Virtual Shopfronts were approached just before Christmas by Jones Lang LaSalle Canada to take a look at the above vacant retail premises.  The vacant units are in a busy retail part of the city and JLL want improve their appearance. However their main goal is to attract attention and ultimately do something that will help let the premises. Traditional methods of letting or selling a vacant retail unit is to have the selling agents logo appear in the window of retail units containing basic contact details. However with the recession still biting hard this form of advertising no longer grabs attention. Something different needed to be done and that something are the Virtual Shopfronts.

Nicholas Polley, our Managing Director of Virtual Shopfronts is very excited with this particular project and what it could lead to. ” We are all really very excited that our Virtual Shopfronts will be appearing in Toronto and we believe that they will be the first of many to appear abroad. These are the first installations outside of Ireland but we never expected them to be as far away as Canada.  That said there is no difference to us whether it is Canada or our nearest neighbour, the UK, because the same processes apply”.

But with selling products abroad comes difficulties and certain logistical issues no matter what the product is. Nicholas continued “Whilst there has been some logistical issues to work out in terms of printing and installation, ultimately the process has been very smooth.  Once we educated the client on the concept and how the Virtual Shopfronts are created, and how they work, it was plain sailing. Our Virtual Shopfronts grab attention and our a unique way to help sell or let any vacant retail premises no matter where in the world they are installed.”

What helps clients greatly is the digital mock-up we do for every Virtual Shopfront we are going to install (see below). Whilst this is not an exact representation of scale or how the installed product will look, it does give our client a very good understanding of the installed product.  This digital mock-up is provided free of charge when we submit a proposal.

For this project, the final graphics are in the process of being signed off and once this happens they will be sent electronically to the client for local printing and installation. It’s an exciting time not only for Virtual Shopfronts but for the client who cannot wait to see the vacant retail units transformed.

If you have a vacant retail premises and you are interested in boosting it’s chances of being noticed and being sold or let quicker than expected, then get in touch with us and we can help. You can view our library of Virtual Shopfronts and the ones we have installed here and learn what Virtual Shopfronts are from watching the video here.

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We all know how the recession has claimed many victims over the past 4 years, but probably one of the hardest hit sectors throughout the country, and indeed worldwide, is the retail sector. Throughout our towns and cities both independent retailers and large retail chains have been pulling down their shutters leaving behind a wake of vacant retail units.  Shopping malls have also fallen fowl to this epidemic and none more so than the former Irish Life Shopping Mall in Dublin’s North city centre.


The shopping mall which was opened in the 80′s hasn’t changed much in looks over the years. Whilst it used to be one of the most popular shopping destinations of it’s time, sadly this is no longer the case. With outdated decor and a host of vacant retail units, very little shopping now takes place in the mall. The vast majority of footfall through the small centre is of people accessing Talbot Street from the Luas stop on Abbey Street or vice versa.


Towards the tailend of last year, management at the shopping mall had had enough and decided that it was time to finally do something to perserve what is left there, to try and enhance the look of the place and to even attract new business.  As of the start of 2013, the Irish Life Mall ceases to exist.  A new lease of life has been breathed into the centre. A complete rebrand now sees the establishment of the ‘Talbot Mall’ and the inside of the shopping mall has been transformed thanks to Virtual Shopfronts.

When we were first contacted by the shopping mall’s management company we immediately new that this was a project where we could truely make a difference. Over the past year and a half we have seen our Virtual Shopfronts transform deteriorating vacant retail units, entire shopping malls and retail high streets by bringing positivity and life back to what were once ghost like retail premises.  On first inspection of the centre however we were confronted with an almost impossible task. We were immediately faced with numerous challenges due to the layout of a number of the shop fronts and the fact that the vast majority of them had shutter fronts and were not modern style designs.

However it wasn’t long before we came up with solutions and not only for the vacant retail units. A complete rebrand of the mall was proposed along with the injection of a little bit of history of the surrounding area. Following numerous discussions with management, Virtual Shopfronts got to work surveying the empty units of the shopping mall and putting a plan together to reenergise the space. With unattractive closed shutters addressed, old Irish Life Mall signage revamped, new Talbot Mall signage installed and our Virtual Shopfronts now proudly appearing throughout the small centre, the shopping mall has been given a new lease of life.

Nicholas Polley founder of Virtual Shopfronts was extremely proud of the work that was carried out. “It’s not often you get to make a difference in the work you do, but I think we have done just that with the new Talbot Mall. It’s also great to see the immediate transformation that our Virtual Shopfronts have made to what were once unattractive vacant retail units and a deteriorating shopping amll. We have received hugely postive feedback from the client which is very satisfying. We have installed our Virtual Shopfronts all around the country but this project was particularly pleasing due to its challenges and the fact that the entire mall needed changing.  It’s one thing installing our Virtual Shopfronts in modern retail units, it’s quite a different story installing them in a shopping amll that contains very old style shop fronts.

So what next for Virtual Shopfronts? Well word has it that Virtual Shopfronts are going West. ” It’s true. We are in the process of preparing a number of Virtual Shopfronts for Kings Street in Toronto Canada. They are almost complete and will be winging their way there to transform the vacant retail units on a popular retail district in the city. Who knows where they will pop up next” – N.Polley

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