Shopping centre celebrates as chains move in

IPSWICH: A landmark shopping centre is celebrating the imminent arrival of the UK’s largest model retailer, and hopes to welcome a major chain to its recession-hit food court area, which has stood empty for the last two years.

If, as seems likely, the food court deal goes ahead, the Buttermarket centre in Ipswich will welcome a new retailer to take on the Promenade Food Court space on the second floor, which formerly included a Burger King, Potato Bakehouse, Coffee Express and a patisserie, in September or October.

It is the second coup in recent weeks for the centre, which is celebrating the upcoming opening of Modelzone, which has 35 outlets around the country, on Saturday.

Centre managers believe the arrival of Modelzone will be a major draw, not only for the Buttermarket, but also for the town, as model enthusiasts will travel for miles to seek out the latest offerings from major brands such as Scalextric and Corgi.

The Modelzone store is moving into the 1,300sq ft space formerly occupied by Ipswich Town Football Club’s Planet Blue shop, said centre manager Colin Roberts.

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“It’s actually fantastic for the Buttermarket and also for Ipswich because as far as I know in the town centre there’s absolutely nothing like it,” he said.

“It’s very new to Ipswich. It’s full of boys’ toys – Scalextric sets and model kits. It’s going to be great fun. It appeals to many people. You have got the hobbyists and present buying for men.”

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They were “delighted” at the new addition, he said, adding that if the food retailer deal goes ahead, the centre will be 99.5 per cent occupied – a feat it has not achieved since opening because of the constant turnaround of tenants.

David Mordecai, chief executive of Modelzone, said: “We have been searching for a site in Ipswich for some time and are delighted to be able to open this summer. The Buttermarket is ideally situated to appeal to all our customers providing a convenient location in the town.”

Scale models sold by the chain include radio controlled helicopters, planes, cars and boats to Hornby trains, Revell plastic model kits, die-cast metal models of racing cars, aircraft, buses, commercial vehicles, a range of collectible model soldiers and Sci-Fi ranges including from Star Wars, Harry Potter, Dr.Who and Star Trek.

Other recent arrivals have included the Pound Shop, and Carousel, a sugar craft and cake making accessories shop.

n Do you know of a business which is fighting back and going from strength to strength? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to

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