A pensioner reversed his car into the Bridge Street Centre in Langley Mill after being dazzled by sunlight, witnesses say.
The 82-year-old man accidentally placed his foot on the accelerator instead of the brake as he attempted to park his blue Toyota into a space on Bridge Street, shortly before 9am.
The incident smashed the glass panels of the centre once occupied by Groundwork Derby and Derbyshire, which is currently in the hands of administrators, but the elderly man was not hurt.
Susan Place, who owns the Bridge Cafe on Cromford Road, next door to the centre, said her customers were given quite a shock.
She said: “We heard such a big bang, we thought a bomb had gone off because it shook the building.
“The gentleman was alright, which is all that concerned us really. He was in a bit of shock.
“It’s lucky it didn’t happen two months ago because there would have been people in there.”
A member of administration staff on the scene said it will recover the cost of the damage through insurers.
Government funding cuts caused Groundwork Derbyshire, which was set up in 1988 to improve communities, to go under in September with 20 of the 33-strong workforce made redundant.