Sweet treats, magical music and magical decorations are offered under one roof when traders come together in a downtown arcade for a crunchy Christmas party.
Many of the businesses in Hull’s Paragon Arcade didn’t start until the initial lockdown in 2020 and saw their celebrations last Christmas hampered by the ongoing effects of Covid.
Now that the lights and shop windows add to the festive atmosphere, they will help make 2021 a memorable Christmas from buyers who are shunning the online option and relying on the quality and character of local independent businesses.
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Shannon Bean, whose family runs Nordic Rosie and Paper Rosie at Paragon Arcade, said, “Black Friday reminded us that last year a lot of people did their Christmas shopping online because they couldn’t leave their homes.
“The mood was different this year and people were much more open to small purchases.
(Image: Paragon Arcade)
“They came in and told us how much they enjoyed going out and we got a lot of comments about how beautiful the arcade looks because it didn’t really shine last year.”
Charlie Broomfield, owner of the Homestead Store, said, “Everyone in the arcade is in a good mood and you could possibly buy all of your Christmas gifts down here including coffee and wine from Two Gingers, the record store, sweet treats from Milky and White Rabbit, flowers, baby clothes , Housewares and furniture. It’s all in a street with its own roof. “
During the first lockdown in 2020, the Two Gingers Coffee House was redesigned and White Rabbit Chocolatier added a coffee shop on the first floor. When the arcade reopened after the lockdown, it revealed Nordic Rosie, who sold housewares and nursery items, and Out of the Attic Music, who sold music memorabilia, CDs and, increasingly, vinyl.
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Shannon and her family then opened Nordic Rosie and sold a range of funky and stylish stationery, cards, paper and prints.
Other new additions included the Three Blind Mice Tattoo Parlor, Neon Velvet Brauenbar, and Milchig, which sold things made from milk – ice cream, cakes, cookies, and brownies, all made on the premises.
They expanded a number of existing tenants including Milk Hair Salon, Belle and Benjamin Babywear, Koda Interiors, and Homestead Store, all of which came the year after Allenby Commercial acquired Paragon Arcade and underwent a major renovation. PJ Barbers Shop and Flower Corner were already there and have stayed.
With a stylish restaurant at The Hispanist and a new dining concept at Holy Brunch, Paragon Arcade attracts people who like to shop, take a break for a drink or a bite, and then shop again.
(Image: Paragon Arcade)
Charlie said, “Last year we missed the run up to Christmas due to restrictions and this year we couldn’t do our Advent wreath making, but we’re doing late night shopping and we” We all have some very nice, hand-picked gift options, the shoppers nowhere else to be found – not even online. “
Andy Sparrow and Gary Matfin have expanded their regular music offering with Beatles Christmas sweaters and a wide range of festive records, including the new “Now That’s What I Call Christmas” compilation with three albums in snow-white vinyl with songs by Wham, Elton John, Magician, Nat King Cole and more.
But in view of the worldwide shortage of vinyl, the two also advertise their used records and their cleaning service.
Andy said: “The shortage affects the supply of new records and gives people the opportunity to rediscover some old classics. All of our used records are professionally cleaned by us and people can also bring their own records if we want to freshen up their vinyl collection. “
Ellen Crabtree, owner of Belle and Benjamin, said customers are calling to buy baby clothes so they can make their own decisions about size and softness.
She said, “When you buy baby clothes, you want to see the quality, and feel how soft things are, and you also want to make sure that the size is just right. We have real conversations with customers to make sure they get exactly what they want, and that’s how we all work at Paragon Arcade. “
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