SOUTHEND’S Victoria shopping centre is set to receive a sprinkle of Towie magic.
Lucy Mecklenburgh, from the hit ITV2 show The Only Way is Essex, will soon open a second branch of Lucy’s Boutique, following the success of her first shop in Brentwood.
Victoria centre bosses are hoping the new store will be a timely boost for the mall, which has suffered badly due to the economic downturn which started just after the centre underwent a £24million makeover, in 2007.
However, bosses are now busy turning things around and the arrivals of high street chains, including Next, Boots and shoe shop Deichmann, have helped raise the centre’s profile.
Miss Mecklenburgh will be the first Towie star to open for business in Southend – and she told the Echo how she can’t wait to be part of a town she has a real affinity with.
She said: “I’m really excited. I used to visit the amusements and have fish and chips with my family in Southend when I was little, and I went to college there, so I’ve got some great memories.
“It seemed fitting to open a store in Southend. I’m looking forward to meeting new customers and offering them all the latest fashion pieces and accessories.”
Stars of Towie have become synonymous with setting up their own businesses whilst starring on the show, most of which are in the Towie heartland of Brentwood.
Ricky Rayment co-owns Bar Blanco in Rayleigh, and Mick Norcross, owner of the Sugar Hut in Brentwood, has had planning permission for The Grand in Leigh since 2010, but work there has yet to start.
The store will go on the ground floor of the centre, and the refit for the boutique began last week. An official opening date is yet to be announced.
Dennis Baldry, manager of the Victoria Shopping Centre, said: “It’s great news.
“It’s a new store opening in the shopping centre – that’s always a bonus – and having someone that’s such a well known personality is great for us in Southend.
“She could have opened a store anywhere she wanted. The fact she chose Southend is fantastic. It will add a touch of glamour to the centre.”
Towie star Amy Childs has seen massive success in her business career since leaving the show in 2011. She opened a beauty salon in Brentwood in 2011, and followed that up in September 2012 with a boutique.
She then opened a pop-up store at Eastgate Shopping Centre, in Basildon, in November last year, which left centre managers celebrating after a surge in visitor numbers over the Christmas period.
Lucy’s boutique in the Victoria will mean 50 out of the 70 shops there are occupied.