Sherlock's in New Westminster:
Not Just Another Store
ANDY BRADSHAW, owner of Sherlock's, standing beside a display of his extensive soccer/football merchandise.
THE EXTERIOR of Sherlock's Cafe located on Columbia Street in New Westminster, B.C.
By CATHOLINE BUTLER
Andy Bradshaw is the owner of Sherlock's in New Westminster, B.C. which features British sweets, groceries and soccer. He is originally from London, Fulham, in England, and is a huge Chelsea supporter.
Andy arrived in Vancouver in 1979 and worked in the airline industry for Pacific Western, Canadian and Air Canada before taking retirement two years ago.
Visitors to his establishment in New Westminster will be impressed with the beautiful old heritage building which is now home to Sherlock's. This is a treasure trove for antique hunters and anyone searching for the perfect gift.
On my recent visit, I expected an average size shop with shelves of British groceries and sweets. Imagine my surprise when I arrived and saw the vast display of merchandise and realized Sherlock's is not just another store.
To begin with just the vast size of the shop is impressive, and it is stocked not only with soccer balls but club jerseys for just about every U.K. football/soccer team, along with flags, key rings and other paraphernalia for all the clubs.
Merchandise is displayed throughout the store on beautiful antique pieces of furniture. There are cases and cases of antique jewellery and other hard-to-find china collectibles and gift items.
At the back of the store is a little coffee bar with sandwiches, meat pies, cakes and cookies. There are also chocolate bars and jars of sweets from the U.K. along with beautiful chocolates and diabetic sweets.
Bradshaw told me he is a big fan of Sherlock Holmes and the name Sherlock's originated with an antique store that he owned on Front Street in New Westminster.
"When I moved and bought the building here at our present location, the antique furniture business had dried up and I suddenly had all this floor space.
"The shop is 4,500 square feet, with the same amount of storage space upstairs. That was when I decided to bring in the British sweets and groceries. Last Christmas I decided to bring in some football/soccer merchandise from Britain and immediately....jackpot!
"Now we have 80 different items for Manchester United. We carry Liverpool, Chelsea and all the premier teams, three of the Italian teams and two of the Spanish teams. I'm now the wholesale agent across Canada for the crested product which has put New Westminster on the map for sure."
The store also has 40 individual showcases, all around the shop and they belong to individual dealers who rent space from Bradshaw.
The concept has been a winner for both Bradshaw and the dealers. "I don't have to have a lot of money in stock now," said Bradshaw, "and since our clientele has changed their business is also thriving.
"We will also be bringing in paintings, porcelains, and bronzes, along with Celtic art... actually we have all kinds of collectables. I think you could honestly say that if you're looking for any one thing, you could probably find it here."
Not one to rest on his laurels, Bradshaw has future plans for his shop which he will be implementing early next year.
"We are planning a café-style tea room for breakfasts and will show games via satellite link-up with Setanta Sports. That should work out really well, especially with our sports merchandise.
"The coffee bar itself will be like an English pub-style but instead of selling pints, we'll be selling caffè lattes. We will have the large televisions for watching the games and guests can also enjoy a full English breakfast.
"There are lots of coffee houses around but very few tea rooms, so we're also planning a little tea room for afternoon teas at 3 PM, complete with the little sandwiches and cream cakes."
Andy Bradshaw is also looking for distributors for the soccer merchandise. For more information call (778) 397-0039, or visit: www.andyimports.com. Sherlock's is located at 659 Columbia Street in New Westminster, B.C. For more information, call (604) 529-1999, or visit: www.britfood.ca.