Liverpool shop that became an 'Aladdin's Cave' where you could...
Liverpool shop that became an 'Aladdin's Cave' where you could request stock

Liverpool shop that became an 'Aladdin's Cave' where you could request stock

A much-loved shop in Liverpool that became an "Aladdin's Cave" for customers "will be very missed" as it is set to close after 26 years. An institution in the area, Tony Blything, his wife Rose, daughter Claire and daughter-in-law Laraine have been the face of Edgars Discount Store for over two decades. as an ex-catalogue shop buying returns from Index before diversifying to offer a wider range of items. Located on Speke Road in Tony worked in the clothing trade for around 20 years before he transformed the site into the institution we've come to know today. Known for having everything customers need and want, after 26 years, the family announced that they will close Edgars doors for the final time in September. Tony, who lives in Bootle, said the decision came after their landlord increased the rent by almost double, but that the thing he will miss most is "the banter with the customers." As part of our we spoke to Tony about the early days of the business and how customer shopping trends have changed over the last 20 years. Tony told "Index used to be one of the major high-street outlets similar to Argos. Every year, there was a new fad coming out and you had to keep up with that. "There was the Tamagotchi's, the Furbys - they were all popular going back in the earlier years. You don't get stuff like that as much any more. "I know there were the fidget spinners but there hasn't really been anything for a couple of years now that the kids were obsessed with. But you can't rely on that all the time and you've got to keep your regular lines going. "Over the years we've moved into all different services and we sell pretty much everything here. On the back of that people ask if we can try and get it and if it's a good line we keep the line going. "That's been our major seller, people come in and saying 'I can't get this', 'do you sell this?' Along with the new stuff, all the old fashioned stuff we've managed to keep going until the stuff is no longer produced." When Tony took over the shop, which had previously been a butchers and a video store, it had been empty for years. Completely transforming the site, Tony remembers the first day rush of customers being like "the stock exchange." He said: "We racked it out with shelves and wooden shelving in the early days, which is something we still have now. We use it up in the stock room, but it wasn't viable to use that as the years went on. "When we were doing all the ex catalogue stuff, we’d have racks of wooden shelves built and at the centre of the shop because all the stuff used to come in on pallets we used to put the pallet in the middle of the floor, strip it down, replace it up and everything was just done cheap and cheerful. The first day we opened, it was mayhem, it was like the stock exchange - people coming in just buying, buying, buying. "After a couple of weeks, it all settled down to a bit of sanity. As the years went by, we had to diversify with the loss of index - we've been steady ever since." Over the last 26 years, Tony has got to know different generations of the same family and see customers grow up in front of him. He said feedback from shoppers has made him feel like he's "putting something back into the community." Tony said: "There’s customers now coming in who I've known since they were born. Their mums and dads have shopped in here and even their grandparents. I've seen them come in as a newborn baby in a pram then they've grown up and they're in their 20s now. "We do have an open, friendly relationship with pretty much all of the customers. Because we are an independent, I've never stopped the staff talking to people on a more friendly basis. "We've got a huge sense of pride because we have served the community well and other people have said we've become an institution not just in the Garston area, but the surrounding areas as well. We have customers who work in other areas and if people are looking for something they say 'go to Edgars, they'll have it'." ‘"It's a great feeling, when your standing at the counter and you can hear people walking down aisles talking to each other and you hear some of the things they say like I love coming to this shop, you can get everything you want and you see stuff you didn't know you wanted, it's really nice. You do really feel like you’re putting something back into the community." More recently, Tony said the closure of the local bank and opening of a nearby Lidl has impacted footfall on the parade and that he has heard of other businesses facing similar situations when it comes to an increase in rent. As a result of the decision Laraine, who owns Big Day Party Balloons above Edgars, has also had to relocate her business. Tony said while his shop could still survive, he and Rose have had to look at their intentions for the future. Edgars Discount Store will close on Saturday, September 16 and - and that it will be "very missed." Tony said: "To see people saying such nice things, it does pull at the heartstrings a little bit. "Thank you to all our customers for your loyal business over the last 26 years. I wish you all well for the future."

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