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Iconic Norwich shop opens new store

PUBLISHED: 10:10 15 September 2019 | UPDATED: 08:20 16 September 2019

Langleys has been in three different locations in Norwich over nearly 140 years. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Langleys has been in three different locations in Norwich over nearly 140 years. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Archant

A Norwich institution is celebrating after opening a new store.

Langleys has taken over the space that was previously occupied by the Canaries shop. Picture: Ruth LawesLangleys has taken over the space that was previously occupied by the Canaries shop. Picture: Ruth Lawes

Children and their families descended on the new Langleys toy store in intu Chapelfield for its opening on Saturday.

The new store, which is on the first floor of the shopping mall and was the former Canaries shop, greeted the first 250 children with goody bags stuffed with toys.

It is part of broader plan to expand the reach of Langleys and to cater to a younger audience.

Store owner Steve Scott, who has been at the helm for four years, said: "We will still continue to sell proper, traditional toys.

Langleys, Royal Arcade in 1976. Picture submittedLangleys, Royal Arcade in 1976. Picture submitted

"In Chapelfield we can provide a sanctuary for parents while they treat their children. Lots of families head to Chapelfield as a one-stop shopping destination and it's the first general toy store in Chapelfield.

"It's also on one level and is completely accessible."

Currently, Langleys also trades from the Royal Arcade, where it has been based since 1925, and Mr Scott said branching out to intu Chapelfield was a "partly commercial" decision.

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He said: "We will stay in the Royal Arcade until at least October, but then it is unclear. We would love to continue there but we would need to reach a reasonable agreement with the landlords.

"It's just prudent to look ahead."

Mr Scott has called on the owners of the Royal Arcade, Legal & General, to cut back on rents in the shopping area, after a string of closures there.

One of the oldest continuously running shops in the UK, Langleys has been trading since 1883 and is renowned for collectible and hard-to-find items.

MD of Langleys, Steve Scott. Pic; Archant.MD of Langleys, Steve Scott. Pic; Archant.

Over nearly 140 years in business, Langleys has weathered toy fads, iPads, the arrival of Amazon and economic recession and remained integral to Norwich's high street.

Mr Scott said parents return decades later with their children, and the shop holds memories and nostalgia for many Norfolk families.

He added: "The experience is joyful. I'm also not overly concerned about the internet.

"You only have to see the glee on a children's face when they hold a physical toy to realise that clicking doesn't have a patch on it."

He also said the staff create a special atmosphere and many spend their entire career at the shop.

He added: "The best thing really is the staff."

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