IT WAS once your everyday shopping centre with your average retailers. 

But in recent years The Dolphin in Poole has evolved into a “multi-faceted destination”, according to its centre manager. 

The management team has scrapped the name ‘Dolphin Shopping Centre’ and renamed it The Dolphin to reflect a change in direction. 

“We wanted to call it The Dolphin, Poole, one because we want Poole to be recognised but also because the shopping centre is not just a shopping centre anymore,” said John Grinnell, centre manager.

Bournemouth Echo: Two new food outlets will be opening in the Dolphin Shopping Centre

The site now has educational facilities, an NHS health centre and a co-working space, Foundry. 

It is also home to Kingland, an 'innovative retail high street' offering new independent Poole-based businesses two years rent and business rates for free.

Read more: Castlepoint looking forward to 'exciting' future

“This is an evolution that has happened and you have to adapt to the industry,” John said. 

“Who knows what will happen in the future? All sorts of things could happen and be thrown in – Covid, for example, had a massive impact, so did Brexit.

Bournemouth Echo: KinglandKingland

“But we want to look at The Dolphin as a place that fits into the community and we do that by taking them first and building on what the community needs.

“If the community turns around and says they want a gym, then we will go out and curate a gym. 

“But we have to also make sure what we do offer works in harmony together.” 

John said he wants The Dolphin to be seen as not just the place to go for the people of Poole but for everybody else in Dorset. 

Visitors numbers are strong and businesses continue to flock to The Dolphin, he reports.

Bournemouth Echo:  

“Footfall has radically changed and so has income, there are a lot of strong businesses here doing extremely well. 

“The internet has had a positive impact on physical retail because the two harmonise together. A lot of online retailers are charging people to send stuff back and people are realising how much it is costing them. 

“But a lot of people like to come into shops and try things on and having that option still available really works. 

“Technology has changed and helped businesses analyse what the trends are – it's more accessible.” 

Soon, The Dolphin will welcome a new bakery and patisserie in the bus station, a community hub and Flaming Nora’s, moving from Bobby’s in Bournemouth