Friday, September 25, 2020
InterGame Video Insights - Mini-golf in the time of Covid-19.
Check out episode 1 of InterGame's Video Insights with a discussion of the opportunities and challenges of operating a mini-golf venue amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Friday, September 18, 2020
Spotting an 'A-Team van' in Stockport.
I always keep an eye out for fun and interesting stuff and managed to get a snap of this 'A-Team van' out on a mission somewhere in the Greater Manchester underground earlier today!
Check out the A-Team Cleaning Services Facebook Page for more information.
It's not the first A-Team van I've seen on my travels. Check out the Multi Kitchens Ltd van, The Waste Team and The Natural Tile Company in Belfast.
Monday, September 14, 2020
A look at some Junkyard Golf advertising in Manchester.
|On Whitworth Street West|
|At Oxford Road|
|At Oxford Road|
Junkyard Golf's First Street venue in Manchester was the last course I played before the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown back on the 9th March 2020.
|Hole 6 of the Pablo course at Junkyard Golf in Manchester|
Visit the Junkyard Golf website for more information.
Friday, September 04, 2020
InterGame Video Insights, Episode 01: Mini-golf in the time of Covid-19.
My specialist knowledge and experience in the worlds of minigolf and marketing were recently demonstrated in InterGame's discussion of the opportunities and challenges of operating a mini-golf venue amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was nice to speak about what's happening in the industry, talk about marketing strategies and tactics and chat with Simon Tompkins, general manager of Hastings Adventure Golf and Andy Johnson, head of golfing operations for Puttstars about the outlook for the game.
I'll be speaking about the world of minigolf and competitive socialising at InterFun Expo 2021.
With over twenty years of marketing experience I offer consultancy services to people and businesses looking to set-up miniature golf courses, review their operations, marketing strategies and campaigns, social media marketing, blogging, hole designs, contests, tournaments and more. Do get in touch for a chat to see how I can help.
Monday, August 24, 2020
Spotting some new Junkyard Golf advertising in Manchester.
We saw some new Junkyard Golf posters on our first walk round Manchester in a while.
The indoor crazy golf venue in Manchester has now reopened and we saw people queuing to get in when we walked past on Saturday afternoon.
Visit the Junkyard Golf website for more information.
Playing at Junkyard GolfThe last course I played before the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown was at Junkyard Golf's First Street venue in Manchester back on the 9th March 2020.
Do get in touch for a chat to see how we can help and work together.
Monday, August 10, 2020
A look at the Blockbuster Video Express store in Colne, Lancashire.
Since our out-of-home minigolfing adventures have been somewhat curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic I've needed to scratch my exploring and collecting itch somehow. During the first nationwide lockdown we spent our daily outside exercise time walking around the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport where we managed to visit and photograph every one of the 265 pubs, bars and clubs in the area.
My next mini 'tickable list' urban exploration challenge taps into my interest in ghost signs, shops, retail marketing and old brands. Ever since I found the remnants of the Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester last October I've been amazed to see the brand still has a lingering presence in other places too.
My old local Blockbuster was on Park Street in Luton, Bedfordshire and while it is long-gone I still remember the amount of time I spent in it when I was a student. I built up quite a collection of big-box ex-rental VHS tapes from there in the early noughties.
Blockbuster ceased operations in the UK in December 2013 so it's amazing that there are still clearly visible remnants of the brand on the high street and on retail parks almost seven years later.
Blockbuster Video and Express storesBlockbuster Video entered the UK video rental market in 1989 following the purchase of Ritz Video.
I remember going to the Ritz Video shop on the Peachcroft Estate in my home town of Abingdon, Oxfordshire back in the late 80's and early 90's. That store became a Blockbuster and I rented some classics from there back in the day. Check out this post from the excellent Abingdon Blog to see a photo of the shuttered shop in 2014.
Blockbuster Video Express stores were somewhat smaller than regular Blockbuster shops. Although all of the stores expanded to include video game rentals. Old signage for the games area has been clearly visible on both the Fallowfield and Colne stores I've been to.
In 2013 there were over 500 Blockbuster locations in the UK. Throughout that year the number dwindled until October when only 264 shops remained. On the 16th December 2013 all stores ceased operations.
Blockbuster Video Express in Colne
While looking online for nearby places to have a wander during the local lockdown here in the north west I stumbled upon the Blockbuster Video Express in Colne, Lancashire.
It's crazy to see the store in person as Colne's main street is quite a busy thoroughfare and the prominently positioned Blockbuster was the only empty shop we saw in that particular part of the town.
|You should've seen the size of the fine for taking back Police Academy almost seven years late. And I hadn't rewound it|
|A view of the store from Market Street|
|The old QuikDrop box has been sealed and painted over|
|The box is still in place though|
|It's always nice to see old CRT TVs in place|
|A view of the right hand side of the store. The Häagen-Dazs fridge is still there|
|The left side, till area and games wall. Note the Coca-Cola and Ben & Jerry's fridges towards the back of the store too|
|The games wall|
|A letter about the Administration. That was a good printer and high quality paper to have lasted so long. The Blockbuster branded tape looks in great condition as well|
Blockbuster Video Express in Westcliff on SeaLast month my friend and fellow blogger Mark Routh kindly sent me some super snaps of the old Blockbuster Video Express store in Westcliff on Sea, Essex. I'm looking forward to seeing it in person next time I'm down that way.
The Last BlockbusterThe very last Blockbuster Video store in operation is in Bend, Oregon, USA. We were planning a holiday to Portland this year and would've called in to the store on the trip.
Hopefully it'll still be there when it's once again safe to travel to the USA.
Other lasting signs of BlockbusterWe've seen other remnants of Blockbuster Video on the former Blockbuster Video Express store in Marple and the regular store in Cheadle Hulme. Back in 2013 we also saw the old store in Hastings had been converted into a shop called Bookbuster.
If you know of any other Blockbuster stores or branding still visible do let me know.
'Playing' BlockbusterInterestingly there is a 'Blockbuster' storefront within another venue. You can find it at Ghetto Golf at the Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham.
Disappearing brandsWe've seen traces of a number of old and defunct brands that were big in the 80s and 90s on our travels around the country.
These have included Woolworths in Stoke-on-Trent, Woolworths Big W in Edinburgh, Kwik Save in Barrow-in-Furness, Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Tandy in Hitchin, RadioShack in Lytham Saint Annes and Toys R Us in Ancoats and Warrington. I also recently took a look at the Happy Eater restaurant chain.
Friday, August 07, 2020
Do you remember Happy Eater?
|Did you used to stop at Happy Eater, or were you more of a Little Chef fan?|
Lost brandsWe've seen traces of a number of old and defunct brands that were big in the 80s and 90s on our travels around the country. These have included Woolworths in Stoke-on-Trent, Woolworths Big W in Edinburgh, Kwik Save in Barrow-in-Furness, Blockbuster Video in Fallowfield, Tandy in Hitchin, RadioShack in Lytham Saint Annes and Toys R Us in Ancoats and Warrington.
A look at the remains of the old Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester.
Tuesday, August 04, 2020
A look back at The Brewmaster's Open minigolf tournament at the Camden Town Brewery in London.
We competed in The Brewmaster's Open at the Camden Town Brewery eight years ago today. It was part of the brilliant summer of sport in the capital.
|Ready to compete|
It was a superb event played on a portable 5-hole minigolf course from UrbanCrazy set up in a brewery! More than 200 players competed in the tournament.
|Playing hole 1|
The scorecards were some of the best I've ever seen.
It was a marvellous day out.
|Taking a 'refreshment break' at the Camden Town Brewery during The Brewmaster's Open tournament|
|Christopher Gottfried playing in The Brewmaster's Open at the Camden Town Brewery in London as Emily and Simon Hall look on|
|Inside the brewery miniature golf course|
|Alan Norman teeing-off the competition|
Alan 'Stormin' Norman won The Brewmaster's Open with his round of 8. I finished in tied 2nd place alongside Seth Thomas.
|The podium - me, Alan Norman and Seth Thomas|
We also played our own three-round tournament, you can read about it in my blog post Mini Golf at the Camden Town Brewery in London.
Check out the Camden Town Brewery website.
Visit UrbanCrazy's website for more info on portable putting courses.
Wednesday, July 22, 2020
It's always nice when I start the day seeing purchases of my minigolf marketing ebook
My ebook to help minigolf players better market themselves, their clubs, tournaments and courses is available to purchase from Amazon and Kobo.
Thanks to everyone who has bought a copy, read it, used it and reviewed it.
If you're looking at running a minigolf project do get in touch to see how I can help.
Friday, July 10, 2020
A look at the old Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester.
Since I found the remains of the Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester last October I've been intrigued to see the brand still has a lingering presence in the retail world. It's always interesting to see ghost signs, remnants of old & dead brands and signage while out and about on our travels.
|It's so odd to see Blockbuster branding along with social distancing signage and notices|
Blockbuster ceased operations in the UK in December 2013.
|A notice on the door at the old Fallowfield branch. Some retail history|
As well as the Fallowfield Blockbuster there are still signs of the stores in Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex, Chiswick in London and Norwich in Norfolk.
|A view inside the old store|
Related blog posts:
- Urban Exploration
Monday, June 15, 2020
A return look at the remnants of the Blockbuster Video store in Fallowfield, Manchester.
I spotted the remains of a Blockbuster Video store while driving to Manchester last October. I returned for a look at the Fallowfield Retail Park location during my lockdown daily outdoor exercise time yesterday.
Some more of the inside of the store has become visible since my first visit. You can now see the remains of a computer system, a CRT TV on a desk and a larger CRT TV hanging from the ceiling.
|How TV's should be|
|I wonder what the last film trailer to be shown on that telly was?|
Blockbuster ceased operations in the UK in December 2013.
Oh how times have changed since then.
As with all of the other shops at Fallowfield Retail Park the pathways and walls have had Covid-19 social distancing signs and stickers added.
|There's nobody around to observe social distancing from|
It's quite something to see the remains of a defunct brand from 'the before times' alongside the signs-of-the-times during the coronavirus pandemic.
|A Covid-19 social distancing sign on the exterior of the long since closed Blockbuster store|
|The tented bay you can see in the right of the photo is part of a drive-in Covid-19 test facility!|
A look at the old store
|Did you ever rent games from Blockbuster? I remember buying a few ex-rental PlayStation games from the Luton store in the early noughties|
|I wonder what the last item to be dropped in here was?|
|Some old paperwork|
Unfortunately in the coming months and years we are likely to see a number of other brands disappear.
The last Blockbuster
There is currently one independently owned franchise still operating as Blockbuster in the USA and you can find it in Bend, Oregon.
We were planning to visit Portland, Oregon later this year. The Blockbuster in Bend is 174 miles from Portland and a 3-hour journey by car.
|There used to be a Carphone Warehouse in Fallowfield. That store was another casualty of the retail wars. They actually bought Tandy when that went out of business too. My first job was at a Tandy franchise in my home town back in the 1990s|
Blockbuster Crazy Golf
Interestingly there is still another 'Blockbuster' store in the UK. It's part of the Ghetto Golf indoor crazy golf course at The Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham.
|The Blockbuster Video hole at Ghetto Golf in Digbeth, Birmingham|