When did the shop open and how was the location chosen?
It started as a hobby, in tandem with a live shellfish export company, in 1997, but outgrew its original building after seven years. In 2004, the shellfish company was sold, and Parade Antiques moved into a large warehouse in a complex of Jacobean-era retail buildings on the Barbican, the traditional fishing harbour of Plymouth.
It’s a tourist area and the shop is a stone’s throw from where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for America on the Mayflower in 1620.
Who works at the shop now?
The shop is open every day of the week and is run alternately by me, Dominic (my son), Keith and Rob (who runs the internet side of Parade Antiques).
We co-operate and take turns at buying and manning the shop. We often prefer to buy at auction online, from the shop, even if the auction house is nearby.
What is the concept behind the shop’s layout?
The majority of the stock is now smaller sized, in order to help internet sales. They are housed in more than 60 glass cabinets, allowing easy viewing by visitors. The larger items, like furniture and art, are either displayed in stalls or are in storage. The shop ethos is very much a mixture of shop and museum, with displays of memorabilia and historical items to entertain the visitors.
What notable visitors have you had?
Being in the touristy area, we are often visited by ‘celebrities’ when touring in Plymouth, performing the Theatre Royal or filming in the south-west. We also occasionally feature on the BBC’s Antiques Road Trip, which is always fun.
First thing you do in the morning?
First thing every morning (after a cursory look to check all is ok) is making proper coffee (with pastries from Jacka, the oldest bakery in the country) and discussing overnight internet offers and emails. Work doesn’t really start until the first visitor walks in the shop.
Do you ever participate in events?
We actively get involved in local events, dressing up for Pirate Weekend (May 12-13 this year), and taking part in Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas trails.
Given an unlimited budget what is one change you would make to the premises?
Make the 16th century warehouse-sized shop a bit warmer in winter.
Parade Antiques, Top of Form, 27 New Street, Barbican, Plymouth, PL1 2NB