The new ‘Mr Magorium’ around Truro is 20 year old entrepreneur Harry Stacey, who opened his very own emporium, also known as Harry’s Toy Chest, just in time for Christmas.
As well as all of the joy from Lego-fanatic children and adult collectors on the day of opening, the toy-crazy business owner himself couldn’t believe the impact he was making on the high-street. With a giddy and excited tone in his voice, he said: “The first day, as sad as it sounds, I literally shed a tear, it was that amazing. There were so many people wanting to buy the stuff I was selling.”
With queues of 50+ outside the small shop in the square, the saving on going out and drinking with his friends over the past couple of years proved to be worthwhile. “Even the cars were stopping, pulling down the windows to see what was happening, it was like… Woah!”
The ambition started about 2 1/2 years ago, when Harry started his business in the small pannier market. At the time he had to save the money he earned and get through the bad days as well as the good, with plans to eventually own his own shop. “As long as you keep going really and wait for those good days. I mean for me it’s ended up really well. Honestly I’ve never been so busy in all my life.”
Growing up with toys, much like everyone did, Harry wanted to share his overlooked passion with the small city. Creating his very own business to sell them on to excited collectors, he obviously has a favourite toy of his own, although you just need to look at the storefront to know what that is.
“Lego was a big part of my childhood and I always loved it… It has to be Lego. Definitely. You can’t go wrong with it. You like Lego, surely?” Well, apparently if you don’t, you’re missing out. His shop is 50% Lego with sets and mini figures, clearly with the intention to convert all of his customers to love the toy as much as he does.
Despite people “taking the Michael” out of Harry when he first started up the business in the pannier market, because it’s “not cool” to sell toys, he proved that opening a toy shop in the busy festive season is nothing to be laughed about.
During December, the square was bound to be busy with people rushing around to grab their last minute Christmas stocking fillers and presents for under the tree. “The day before Christmas Eve, that was pretty mental. Christmas Eve was a little bit slow but I think people had probably got their presents by then… I hadn’t, I started on Christmas Eve.” Clearly opening at the start of the month was a successful business move for Harry, supplying toys at a lower price than the high-street making Christmas easy and affordable for those panicked parents.
The rush didn’t stop at a halt after Christmas, in fact it was quite the opposite, with children coming in with their Christmas money to buy all of the exciting things they wanted but didn’t get. “All the kids had their pocket money, they still had their Christmas lists. I think it must’ve been last Saturday, that was probably the busiest day. That was stacked, people were just buying random stuff.”
Harry plans to continue his shop for a couple of years, alongside completing his degree in Business and Entrepreneurship at Falmouth University. Taking on a lease and not having a set-supplier, it’s hard to expand as of yet but eventually he has his eyes set on opening a few more shops, moving on to online and possibly even opening up a shop in a bigger city like London. “Maybe one day I’ll move on to a toy I’ve made myself but it would have to be some sort of genius idea as there’s so many toys out there nowadays. Would have to be the Fortnight of toys or something.”
So who knows? Perhaps that’ll be the next thing we hear will be that the “Fortnight of toys” has first been created in Cornwall by a young entrepreneur who once went to Falmouth University. As Harry said: “I feel like I’m a celebrity being asked to describe myself in 3 words,“ so maybe his visions are set to celebrity heights already. Whatever happens, being a “passionate” business owner at the age of 20, he’s already off to a good start.