Business booms at new swap shop

CeX Entertainment Exchange in Adelaide Street, Blackpool. Partners Richard Whitley (left) and Stephen Hall.
CeX Entertainment Exchange in Adelaide Street, Blackpool. Partners Richard Whitley (left) and Stephen Hall.
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THE owners of a new franchise store in town say business is booming just a few days after opening their doors.

Richard Whitley, 24, and Stephen Hall, 31, have opened a branch of Complete Entertainment Exchange (CEX) in Adelaide Street after working for the firm for five years.

The business is an electronic goods, computer games, DVD and music exchange, allowing people to trade in their old goods against others.

The second-hand games market alone is said to have topped £500m in the past year alone.

Mr Whiteley said: “It has been very, very busy since we opened.

“We’ve had lots of locals, but also lots of people on holiday – especially Scottish people – in since we started.

“The customers have been lovely.”

The entrepreneurs scouted premises in Blackpool before settling on the former Textiles Direct site, after a CEX franchise manager suggested the town was the ideal place for one of its stores.

Richard added: “We worked for the firm and thought about a franchise – our manager told us to look at Blackpool and in 2009 we found the premises.”

As a franchise operation, the team gets invaluable help from its head office.

Richard explained: “We have a team in London – I think there’s 12 of them – who do all of the pricing for us.

“Items increase and decrease in price – similar to stocks and shares. It depends how available a particular item is.”

Blackpool Council offered the businessmen a grant to help kickstart the business, but the duo had to turn it down due to protracted negotiations over the site.

But the council’s offer of help didn’t stop there.

Richard said: “They helped us a lot with employment.

“They gave us space in the town hall to carry out interviews and got us in touch with the right people.”

The shop has opened with a healthy staff of nine working alongside the two owners.

CeX was founded in London in 1992 and now has 124 stores in the UK – 71 of which are franchises - with branches also open in Spain and the USA. The firm is looking for further franchisees as it hopes to expand further this year.