Edinburgh store Wonderland Models in Lothian Road celebrates 50 years of business
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Wonderland Models, in Lothian Road, was founded back in 1972 after clothing retailer Peter Barton saw a gap in the Edinburgh market for a specialist model shop.
Peter grew the business into one of the leading model shops in the country - and a firm family favourite in the Capital - and soon was able to move the business from its first premises in Rose Street to a larger store in Lothian Road, where it still trades today.
In 1982, after a successful 10 years, Peter passed on Wonderland Models to his stepson Iain Reid, who remains in charge after four decades.
The store’s range has grown and diversified over time to cater to every hobby and interest and now ships models from their Edinburgh home to thousands of loyal customers in the UK and beyond.
“We are very grateful for the continuous customer support that has lasted over many generations - with parents, sons, daughters, grandparents and grandchildren all shopping with us through the years,” said Iain.
“For us, this momentous year is all about giving back to our customers.”
In the 50 years since Wonderland Models opened, the family have had to deal with several challenges, not least the ever-changing nature of the British high street.
A change in shopping habits saw Iain bring the business into the digital age, with its website wonderlandmodels.com which saw the store’s success continue online.
And the business even thrived during the global Coronavirus pandemic, with Wonderland Models having seen a huge increase in trade thanks to people having more time to enjoy their hobbies - and start new ones - at home. As a result, no staff were furloughed and the store’s online presence continued to grow.
“It really forced our customers into embracing internet shopping, which we were thankfully able to cater for,” said Iain. “We also found that with more time to spend at home, there’s been a big resurgence amongst adults in nostalgic hobbies like model making, model railways and construction toys.
“At the same time, we’ve seen growth in collectible toys from brands like Papo and Schleich, offering collectability and great play value - ideal for keeping cooped-up kids away from the computer and TV screens.”
But running a successful business isn’t just down to embracing the online world. Iain also paid homage to his team of staff at the store who he said are to thank for Wonderland Models’ widespread reputation.
He said the 11-strong team, who have more than 110 years of experience between them, bring passion, enthusiasm and a great breadth of knowledge to the job, which those they serve value and appreciate.
“With their commitment to providing the best possible customer care, they provide a level of service in store and online that other retailers just can’t match in my opinion,” he said.
To mark its 50-year milestone, Wonderland Models is working with local ecommerce agency Digital Six to develop and improve its online store. Iain and the team will also be running competitions and giveaways as part of the business’ 50th birthday celebrations. Details and information will be found on Wonderland Models’ social media channels.