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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