'I'm not worried' - Toy boss on Hamleys opening in Norwich
- Credit: Jess Coppins
Two independent toy shops in Norwich have welcomed the arrival of Hamleys in the city but claim their local knowledge will give them an advantage over the national brand.
Hamleys, the world's oldest toy shop, is opening a store in Chantry Place and customers will be able to meet the brand's regular characters like Ragdoll and Toy Soldier.
Langleys, which first opened in 1883, also has a store in Chantry Place place and its owner, Steve Scott , said the company's knowledge of its customers will help the business beat the competition.
"We welcome competition, we're a strong brand with a good customer base," he said. "We offer great value and have a huge range of unique products.
"We know the area and can tailor our products and range to what our customers want.
"So we'll be able to work around its stock, we can change and move quickly."
He was confident that Langleys wouldn't suffer. He added: "I'm not worried."
Kerrison Toys has been open for 50 years, with a store in Aylsham Road and one in Great Yarmouth.
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The owner of Kerrison, Steve Kerrison, said: "It's always nice to see brands like Hamleys come to Norwich, it gives us credibility."
"It does tend to be more touristy, so I'm not sure how it'll work on a smaller scale."
"We can offer more competitive pricing, places like Hamleys tend to be more expensive.
"We also have a larger and more diverse range of toys available, even though Hamleys are larger.
"When you shop independent, you're buying straight from the owner and the staff who really care.
"Until we see what they're stocking, we won't know what to expect."
Hamleys was opened in Holborn in 1760 by William Hamley, and was originally called ‘Noah's Ark’. The store quickly became a London hotspot, and a new branch was opened in 1881 on Regent Street, in the now iconic building.
The new Hamleys store opens on the lower ground floor of Chantry Place later this month.