A VINTAGE boutique will open its doors once more in Bolton town centre, thanks to a council grant.

Elite Dress Agency is the first retailer to take up Bolton Council’s grant scheme — launched in October last year — which offers businesses grants of up to £20,000 to set up shop in the town centre.

The store, which sells pre-owned designer and vintage clothes and accessories, operated in Bridge Street 15 years ago, and has now signed a three-year lease for the empty unit at number 32.

Company director Christine Lister, who also runs branches in Manchester city centre and Altrincham, said she was excited to open the doors in Bridge Street again on Saturday.

She said: “We had to shut that shop due to rents and rates going up, and the economy hit a bit of a downturn.

“But things are picking up again in Bolton, and when these premises came up and the offer of financial help, we decided that now is the right time to come back.”

Money from the grant has been spent on signage, security tagging, fixtures, fitting and rent costs. Ms Lister added: “The support from the council has been amazing and the grant is a huge help.

“It means that we can get everything up and running the way we want.”

The unit in Bridge Street has been empty for more than a year, and leader of Bolton Council Cllr Cliff Morris welcomed the fact it will soon be in use again.

He said: “The grant scheme was set up specifically to help businesses like Elite.

“It’s an independent successful business with a unique offering, and it’s the type of shop that we don’t have in the town centre which we want to see opening.

“Economically times are hard but things are getting better slowly and the very fact that Elite has chosen to come back here says something about their confidence in the town centre.”

The council is liaising with more businesses about providing them with grants, and the amount given to Elite is commercially sensitive.

  • For more information about the scheme, go to bolton.gov.uk/business or call 01204 336222/6131.


  • Bolton Council announced in October it had set aside £1.5m to encourage more businesses to open.
  • As part of the business support scheme, companies could receive grants of £20,000 or more if they took over empty units.
  • Small businesses in Bolton will also benefit from a £1,000 discount in business rates.
  • Bolton Council’s cabinet rubber-stamped a Government offer to reduce the rates for small companies — including pubs, shops, restaurants and cafes — with a rateable value of £50,000 or less.
  • It also backed plans to give a 50 per cent discount to businesses which move into a unit which has been empty for a year or more and make all newly-built commercial properties exempt from empty property rates for 18 months.
  • The grants do not apply to takeaways, pound shops or bookmakers.