img_33-2.jpg
Paul Boorman outside his Islington shop.

You have 2 more free articles remaining

Islington, North London

In the continuing series looking through the keyhole of ‘bricks and mortar’ shops in 2017, ATG talks to Paul Boorman, owner of Paul’s Emporium: Islington Antiques in Islington, North London. What’s your shop’s history?

I started my business in 1990. I’m an upholsterer by trade and I was doing clearances and markets before I opened the shop in 2004 – it was what I’d always wanted to do.

How did you chose your location?

I was already supplying two shops in this area and when they both closed due to retirement I decided it was my turn, and I rented the space. I’ve always enjoyed the diversity and character of this area.

What are the advantages of having a permanent location?

I can have more stock and it’s always on display, customers and people with items to sell can just drop by and I get to trade in a part of London where fairs aren’t readily available.

How many staff are there?

One: me. I also use freelancers for collections and deliveries and get help if I’m doing a fair.

How has the passing trade changed since you’ve been open?

The whole market has moved on and is less traditional than it was but I enjoy the challenge of moving with it and the constant learning curve.

As for the passing trade, it hasn’t changed that much – and none of my regulars look a day older.

Given an unlimited budget what change would you make?

I’d buy this shop and the one next door, knock them through and expand.

Why is it a good idea for buyers to go to shops as opposed to, say, auctions or fairs?

I think the auctions have all become retail now and everything is online, whereas 90% of my stock isn’t.

So if you come in you have a genuine chance of buying freshto- market items (I really do have new stock every day). Plus you get to hear selections from my fantastic vinyl record collection.

What’s the biggest challenge working in a shop?

It’s the same for every shopkeeper – ever-increasing overheads, not enough hours in the day and maintaining professionalism in the face of rudeness.