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Meet the people behind some of Cardiff’s most loved arcades

This post is also available in: cyCymraeg (Welsh)

Cardiff’s seven historic arcades have been attracting shoppers for over a century and today (19 June) FOR Cardiff has launched a campaign to raise their profile and establish Cardiff as the City of Arcades.

FOR Cardiff is asking residents and regular visitors to Cardiff to support the campaign and vote for their favorite store, eatery, bar, barber shop or hotel that can be found within the nearly 800 metres of arcades.

The most popular businesses will be included in a Top 10 City of Arcades list and will feature in the advertising of the second phase of the campaign, when it’s rolled out in Bath, Bristol and Cardiff in September. The £75,000 advertising campaign will include billboards, bus rears, digital screens and online advertising.

FOR Cardiff is looking for the most interesting stories and people behind the businesses in the Arcades. These stories will help sell the city and all it has to offer in comparison with other shopping destinations.

The seven arcades in the city centre are: Castle, High Street, Duke Street, Royal, Morgan, Wyndham and Dominions.

Executive Director of FOR Cardiff Adrian Field, said:

“The Victorian and Edwardian shopping arcades are the jewel in Cardiff’s crown. They offer a shopping experience like no other with an eclectic mix of over 100 businesses, the majority of which are independents, nestled amongst some of the biggest names on the high street.

“Our remit at FOR Cardiff is to transform Cardiff city centre, making it more welcoming, vibrant and influential. We want to put Cardiff firmly on the independent shopping map and in doing so encourage more people to choose it as their shopping destination to increase day and overnight visitors to the whole city and boost the local economy.

“We want Cardiff residents and visitors to tell us which arcade businesses are their favourites and help us choose which ones we should be shouting about.”

A new website thecityofarcades.com will act as the hub for all information about the arcades featuring a story from a business within each. One of those is Steve Barker, owner of Coffee Barker, Barkers Tea House and Gin & Juice in High Street and Castle Arcade, he said: “What sets us apart is the Castle, the heritage and history of the city. People can spend a day at the Castle or Principality Stadium, shop at some great independent stores, have a meal and a coffee here in the afternoon and then in the evening come back and enjoy a couple of drinks.”

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With new eateries and cocktail bars opening nearby, Steve is certain that Gin & Juice, and the surrounding businesses, are part of a renaissance for The Castle Quarter as a destination for visitors to the city. Steve explained: “The arcades are becoming the top evening destination in the city. They’ve always been for people who are looking for what’s new, something more than what you find on your average high street.”

Ashli Todd, owner of Spillers Records since 2010, said: “It wasn’t my intention to take over the running of the family business. I asked for money for the cinema with my friends and my dad said I could either clean out the chickens we kept in a shed or come and work in the shop for a few hours, so obviously I chose the shop. The rest as they say is history!”

“The arcades are the best kept secret in Cardiff. Not only are they visually beautiful they are crammed with a wonderful variety of independent businesses. You can go from an independent coffee shop, to an independent clothes shop and obviously see us, you could literally just stay within the arcades. For people who like supporting local independents, this is where you’ll find them in the city.”

Voting is open until the 22 July 2018. To vote for your favorite arcade business to help them secure a spot in the City of Arcades Top 10 and help raise their profile, visit thecityofarcades.com

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