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  However if a shopping centre wants to grab attention and attract new tenants, then this approach is outdated and no longer works.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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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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