Legendary Manchester shopping emporium Afflecks host street party to celebrate 30 years trading

By Kevin Benson

Afflecks, Manchester’s much loved shopping arcade will celebrate 30 years of trading with a huge street party next Saturday.

The 80’s themed party will kick off along Tib Street at 11am and will feature street performers, DJ’s and a fashion show plus much more.

Manchester DJ Johnny Trash will be manning the turntables all day playing some of the city’s most iconic music from the past 30 years.

General Manager Tony Martin said the celebration is an opportunity for Afflecks to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported them over the years.

“It is not all about us, it’s about us giving something back,” he said.

The actual celebrations will begin on Friday 25 May with the unveiling of specially design mosaic artworks created by Mark Kennedy.

The new mosaics will feature pop culture icons from Manchester’s past, including one of legendary record labels Factory Records.

Mr Kennedy’s mosaics had originally adored the Tib Street face of the building before being removed in 2008 by previous owner, Elaine Walsh.

Mr Martin said the mosaics were something that was missing from the building, with many customers coming in and asking what had become of them.

“We felt it was important to contact Mark and re-commission him to do some new work for us,” he said.

“Mark has been working on these pieces for the last twelve months and we thought it would be great to tie it in to the fact that we have been trading for 30 years.”

Afflecks first opened its doors in 1982, the same year as the iconic Manchester nightclub The Hacienda.

Since then it has become an Aladdin’s cave for all things alternative.

In many ways it is the beating heart of the Northern Quarter, which incidentally has emerged in recent years as one of the trendiest places in the city.

Roxxi Watson, founder of Strawberri Peach opened up her store in the wake of the IRA bomb which devastated large parts of the city in June 1996.

Roxxi reaffirmed Afflecks as being one of the driving forces behind the emergence of the Northern Quarter

She said: ““it is the heart of the northern quarter – if Afflecks went the area would be devalued.”

Vanessa Cawley, founder of American Graffiti also believes Afflecks is the reason behind the growth of the Northern Quarter.

“It was something of its time that was completely different and it is because of Afflecks that these other shops have sprung up around there,” She said.

She began trading in Afflecks in the early 1980’s and praised the ethos of former owners James and Elaine Walsh for providing a low-rent space where business owners could trade.

She said: “It was a chance to try my hand at a business and the good thing about Afflecks is that is it a good starting place because you have got no overheads, you just pay the rent and start as you mean to go on.”

Wayne Hemingway, founder of the Red or Dead fashion label, started out with a store in Affleck’s during the 1980’s.

Mr Hemingway described how Afflecks was part of the ‘Madchester’ fabric during the late 80’s and early 90’s.

“It was the centre of Madchester, it was the creative hub for so many people that have gone on to do bigger things, he said.

“It’s not just us, you look at so many bands and that was the place that they hung out, that was the place that they felt that was their home.”

Looking to the future Mr Martin firmly believes Afflecks has many more years of trading ahead and possibly even expanding beyond the borders of Manchester.

“There is the also the possibility that Afflecks can expand and whether that stays in Manchester itself or expands to other cities such as Liverpool and Leeds we shall have to see,” he said.

For further information visit the Afflecks web site here.

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