Visitors to Bedford were invited to share their ideas for the empty shops about town.
Writing on a small sticker, people completed the sentence “I wish this was ...” and fixed it to the window of the former Laura Ashley shop in the High Street.
The event was organised by the Green Party, which believes the High Street belongs to everyone, and local people should be encouraged to have a say in its future.
Green Party member Lucy Bywater said they used the Laura Ashley shop as an example for all the empty units.
She said: “People who stopped to talk to us, and take a pen to write their ideas, seemed to really care about their town centre and their imaginative ideas were pretty inspiring.
“Answers ranged from a toy shop, music shop, shoe shop, lighting shop and clothes shop to a soup kitchen and creche/play centre.
“Quite a few people said no to more cafes and charity shops simply because they felt that Bedford town centre is already well supplied with a good selection of both.
“Some people mentioned favourite retailers they thought might do well in Bedford, but others were keen on more independent shops which play to the strength of the town and are particularly useful to the local economy in that the money tends to stay locally.”
She added: “One of my personal favourite ideas was ‘junk food’ cafe where food otherwise sent to landfill by retailers but still perfectly safe to eat is cooked up in delicious recipes and people donate as little or as much as they feel like for their meal. But a good music shop would also be good!”
All the responses are being put on to a list and the Green Party will send it on to the Mayor of Bedford.
The peel-able stickers will all be removed within two weeks.