A Harry Potter shop has opened in Manchester’s Arndale Centre and is donating all its profits to a wonderful charity.
Hoot, the not-for-profit Harry Potter themed gift shop has opened in The Arndale’s Shopmobility store, boasting a plethora of Harry Potter merchandise including replica wands, collectors edition brooms and even Rowena Ravenclaw’s lost diadem.
The store, which is run by Shopmobility volunteer and board member Keith Dalby-Oldham and his husband Darren, raises money for the charity which helps anyone with mobility problems get around the city, and has the backing of both Warner Brothers and J.K Rowling herself.
The duo source their stock from licensed Harry Potter replica company The Noble Collection, who supply the Studio Tour gift shop, the Harry Potter experience in Orlando and most recently, the wands for the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them films.
Mr Dalby-Oldham said the shop originally opened in Stockport last October after Shopmobility board members were forced to find alternative ways to fund the charity following council budget cuts.
“We were looking for a way to make money for the charity after we lost the council grant and we came up with the idea of a gift shop where all the profits would go back to Shopmobility.
“We got the support of Warner Brothers and J.K Rowling, then we got in touch with Noble, who make the props for Fantastic Beasts, and they agreed to supply us with wands and other replicas.
“The shop in Stockport was really popular. We had people come from all over the world to visit and regularly had people from Eastern Europe and even Brazil. One man came from the Philippines, bought his wand and flew back the next day, it really is amazing.”
Mr Dalby-Oldham said that although the shop was ‘really popular’, board members decided on August 11 to move the gift shop to The Arndale, where it now shares premises with Shopmobility Manchester and supports both the Manchester and Stockport charity.
“The decision was made to move to The Arndale because the board thought there might be a bigger audience for it. It’s important that we keep Shopmobility going, because what we do is so important.
“The number one fear for wheelchair users is isolation and in many cases, we are their last line of defense against it because we help them get out of the house. It makes a tremendous difference.”
Hoot is located inside the Shudehill entrance to The Arndale, behind Sports Direct on the ground floor and is open Monday to Saturday, from 9.30am until 6pm. For more information or to make a donation to Shopmobility visit the Hoot Facebook page.
Also published on Medium.