Launchpad For Independents Provided By Paragon Arcade

Launchpad For Independents Provided By Paragon Arcade
Launchpad For Independents Provided By Paragon Arcade

As part of its latest recruitment and expansion campaign, a Victorian arcade is making dreams come true for independent traders.

In Hull’s Paragon Arcade, the latest addition to the businesses is Oishii Ne, which means “it’s delicious.” in Japanese.

In the meantime, Out of the Attic, a record shop opened in the arcade in June 2020 by two old school friends, has expanded into a double unit with more CDs, DVDs, and t-shirts to display.

The building will soon be filled with new tenants as Allenby Commercial plans to keep the arcade offering exciting and fresh after they purchased Paragon Arcade in 2017.

Georgia Allenby, Design and Marketing Manager at Allenby Commercial, said:

“Paragon Arcade is all about providing a launchpad for independent local businesses which bring great ideas and fit into the community spirit we have nurtured here.

“We have had some fantastic tenants. Some find their feet and move to bigger premises elsewhere, others expand to larger units here and we have a waiting list of who want to move in when vacancies arise.”

His love of Asian food was sparked by numerous trips to Japan and France, when he was introduced by a friend to a Japanese sushi master.

A pop-up version of Oishii Ne was launched in December 2020. Among his venues was Paragon Arcade, so he jumped at the chance to open his own bar with a ground floor counter service and 22 seats upstairs.

Tom, whose previous jobs include barber and timber salesman, opens every day except Monday from 11am until 5pm, with a fortnightly Saturday evening service which sells out weeks ahead.

He said:

“We opened in July and it’s been manic. We had a following anyway from our pop-ups and it’s gone up three-fold or more. A lot of people are still finding out about us – people who aren’t on social media and have discovered us in other ways, including by walking through the arcade.

“We’ve developed the menu as we’ve found out more about what our customers want and the chefs are coming up with a special every Thursday, such as furikake potatoes and some tempura dishes. There are three of us now plus two who help out part-time.

“They came up with our first dessert of Filipino banana float and that sold out in no time so we’ll be doing more. One of the chefs created a cocktail of sake and margarita and we know people want more of that as well!”

Gary Matfin and Andy Sparrow used to save their school dinner money to spend in Hull city centre at the legendary Sydney Scarborough record shop as well as in HMV, Our Price, Boots and Woolworths.

Gary said: “HMV is still around but Boots doesn’t sell records and the others are long gone. We always said we wanted to open our own record shop and 40 years later we did it!

“Initially we had no idea whether there would be any interest in the but it has just grown and we have been blown over by the support we have had. People seem to like what we do and where we are. It’s the kind of shop you would expect to find in an arcade.

“It’s a community down here. Each shop is different and has something unique to offer and often we work together. When Record Store Day comes round we let the other businesses know and our neighbours Milchig sell coffee and cookies to the people in our queue.

“When we go on our travels we are always looking for new lines – things that people like and that isn’t expensive. It’s records, CDs, t-shirts, patches, badges, DVDs – the sort of stuff we used to look for when we were kids.

“We just outgrew the first shop. We had an upstairs but people didn’t really venture up there so a double unit lets us lay out the stock better and show people what we have got. The plan now is to continue to offer something a bit different, things that you won’t find elsewhere in the city.”

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