The image of boarded up shops and permanent shutters do not create positive perceptions of a place.
Shop windows can be used to display merchandise and advertising for neighbouring shops and businesses which can bring in a small revenue stream for property owners. In a number of places students at the local college or university have displayed projects in vacant shop windows that engage passers by. Just check the planning permission for the premises which may need amended before you proceed.
One of the most effective and inexpensive options for transforming the image of vacant shops is window vinyls. High quality images covering the entire window area enliven the streetscape and camouflage the empty interior. With a bit of imagination the images can be engaging and long lasting, such as a photographic image that turns an empty shop into a virtual café, or costumed characters with a mirror where the face should be. There are a number of specialist companies who offer a complete service including design, installation, and when required removal of the vinyls, such as City Dressing or Shopjacket. You will need the property owner’s consent, and depending on the complexity and size the cost can be as little as a few hundred pounds per unit.
The overall result is a high street which avoids the image of run down shops, making it a more attractive prospect for those wanting to rent commercial property, as well as those visiting the town centre.