‘Next six months are vital’: Toy shop owner on 20 years in business
- Credit: Charlie Barwick
A town centre toy shop owner who launched his business 20 years ago at market stalls across the county is looking back on two decades of business.
Phil Rolfe, owner of Outer Rim Toys in March town centre, is celebrating working for himself since 2001 after he began his business at Ely market.
“20 years is a huge achievement for a small-business like mine, especially surviving a pandemic too,” said Mr Rolfe..
An avid toy collector himself, Mr Rolfe’s business was born from him being unable to find highly sought-after Star Wars figures on shop shelves.
He said: “I always struggled to find them [the rare Star Wars figures] in-store, it was always something you could only find online.
“I wanted to work for myself and here I am, self-employed for now 20 years.”
This encouraged Phil to make it easier for those with the same passion and eventually led to him creating his toy store to include collector items from the online world.
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In May 2001, Phil went on to selling his products on Ely’s Saturday market, as well as travelling across the country to shows and exhibitions.
After his stall success, Phil went on to set up his own shop in March town centre in 2013, selling everything from toys, games to puzzles.
He said: “Puzzles are definitely our best seller, not just with the young people but those older ones too.
“Lockdown increased the sales of puzzles because it was giving everyone something to do while being at home.”
Outer Rim also has a wide selection of dart equipment which Phil said was very popular with the local pubs before the lockdown.
Talking of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said: “We have survived three lockdowns through the pandemic and that is an achievement in itself.
“However, I think the next six months are vital to see if those who now shop online will come back to us small local businesses.
Outer Rim also has a newly-created website called ‘Jigsaw Arcade’.
“Setting up a website was the best thing I ever did for this store,” he said. “The website has more products than the store which means it even appeals to the local customers.”
For more information, visit: www.jigsawarcade.co.uk/