St Albans shop proves there’s more to bricks than clicks
- Credit: Archant
A St Albans business is bucking retail trends by moving from an online operation into shop premises. Bricktraders, which specialises in new and ‘pre-loved’ Lego bricks, sets and minifigures, is now open in Catherine Street.
The business, owned by local woman Emma Leahy, has a large online customer base, and has been operating at events and in ‘pop-up’ shops for two years. Emma says the time is now right to open a retail outlet, as customers enjoy the tactile nature of building with the Lego bricks, and having the opportunity to find collectable pieces, sets and figures.
The shop stocks a range of new and restored items ranging from inexpensive minifigures to discontinued sets such as the Star Wars Cloud City, selling for £695. Customers can also buy loose bricks by weight, as well as a range of collectable and custom minifigures.
Emma, who is helped in the shop by mum Janice, spent six weeks refitting the premises, which had been vacant for several years, and opened just before Easter. ‘It’s nice to be able to bring some life back to what has been a neglected area of the town’s retail sector’ said Emma. ‘Perhaps because the premises were run down we have been able to obtain a lease at a reasonable cost. But like all new businesses we face challenges and we think that the local authorities could do more to help new businesses if they are to thrive.’
Emma, who also runs the website at www.bricktraders.co.uk, gave up work as a graphic designer to take on Bricktraders full time, and started the business after her son was offered some Lego which was being thrown away by a friend. ‘We were horrified by that, so we started saving and collecting Lego bricks and sets. Now everything we buy is sorted, checked for authenticity, and cleaned if necessary and if there are parts missing from a set we search for replacements. We already have regular customers of all ages, from children looking for Harry Potter or Star Wars pieces, to a lady in her 60s who is building the Eiffel Tower!’
Bricktraders is open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays at 57 Catherine Street.