The opening of the Accrington Stanley supporters’ shop has proved an unexpected boon for club sponsor What More UK.
The Lancashire housewares supplier became stadium sponsor at its local football club Accrington Stanley last year. The team now plays its home games at the Wham Stadium, named after What More UK’s plasticware brand.
Three months ago a new Accrington Stanley shop was opened in the town’s Market Hall by the man who is perhaps Stanley’s best known fan – cricketing legend and ‘local lad made good’ David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd.
With backing from the football club, the shop is run by volunteers from the Official Accrington Stanley Supporters Club and sells a range of official club merchandise, assorted football memorabilia, match day and season tickets and programmes.
To make the venture more viable, and because of the link with What More UK, it was decided the store would also stock a limited range of Wham brand products at ‘factory shop’ prices. It was hoped that doing so could bring in customers who might not otherwise visit a football club shop.
But, What More UK says, no-one could have predicted how popular the little Wham outlet in the corner of Accrington Market Hall would become in such a short space of time.
“We’ve been astonished by its success,” said What More UK director Tony Grimshaw. “To be honest it was a last minute decision to put some Wham stock in there to fill up the shelves a bit and help get the Stanley shop up and running. But right from opening day the stock was selling – David Lloyd even bought something for his wife!”
Situated in the award-winning Victorian market hall, word of the new Shop has spread quickly, with a growing army of customers calling in to buy plastic storage boxes, kitchenware, bins, buckets and bakeware, all carrying the Wham brand and made just a stone’s throw away.
“Our Wham Cook bakeware range has been especially popular,” added Tony, who has had to assign one of his team to making sure the Stanley Shop is regularly restocked.
Rumours even abound locally of die-hard Stanley fans unexpectedly offering to take their other halves for a trip out to the market and “a browse in the Wham shop”.
“There can’t be many shops where you can buy a season ticket and a storage box to keep it in!” added Tony.
David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd with the Wham heart-shaped cake tin he bought for his wife on opening day