'Too big for Royal Arcade' - boss on why Langleys has split up
- Credit: Jess Coppins
The boss of Norwich's Langleys toy shop in the Royal Arcade has relocated to new premises.
Steve Scott, a former barrister who runs the store founded in Norwich in 1883, said the move into a smaller unit was the culmination of two years' work necessary to keep the business going.
Langleys is one of the longest running retailers in Norwich, moving into the Royal Arcade, albeit in a different unit, in 1925. It was founded in Prince of Wales Road by the Victorian James Langley.
On his first day in the new premises, Mr Scott explained the move.
"The last 10 years have been really tough and over the last seven-eight years, I've ploughed a substantial amount into it to keep it going.
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"The move marks two years of working out how we were going to keep the Langleys baton in the air. I feel I have a responsibility not only to my staff but also to the toy institution.
"When Covid hit, the uncertainty resulted in a couple of weeks of thinking 'how on earth can we navigate our way through the stormiest seas retail has seen?'"
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With leases on both stores up for renewal, Mr Scott decided to go ahead, taking a smaller unit in the arcade.
"Langleys in the Royal Arcade has always attracted customers but not enough to sustain being in a two storey, double fronted building.
"The arcade is like an artisan alley with specialist shops and even if it isn't quite as buoyant as it once was it still has a gravitas and presence not seen in other cities.
"It made evident sense to split toys out and give the models section which is the epitome of a destination shop, the chance to thrive where it belongs."
Langleys in the arcade now sells model kits and accessories, specialist hobby games as well as collectables from dragon figurines to Harry Potter accessories. These were previously upstairs in the old store.
Mr Scott, who used to run a collectors stamp shop in London, said: "People like the convenience of shopping online but if you also like the experience of shopping, people need to get off their bottoms and go to their favourite shops."