When did your shop first open? The shop we currently have first opened its doors in 2003 but prior to that I had a small magic studio on the side of my house that was open to visitors by appointment. Why? The move to much larger independent premises was due to the much needed additional warehouse space, plus I had always wanted a magic shop that magicians could visit, hang out in and discuss the latest new tricks, books and DVDs. At how many locations has your shop been located? When Jenny and I first started Alakazam Magic in the early days we operated purely from home based in London. When we moved down to Ashford in Kent, we had a small studio on the side of the house which was done out like a mini-shop, with counter, display cases and shelves stocked up with all the latest tricks, books and DVDs (although it was videotapes back then!) What was the name of the original owner? The company was founded by me and Jenny and we have always been and still remain the sole owners of the brand and the business. Are there any well-known magicians associated with your shop’s history? I am very proud of the names that are now associated with the Alakazam brand. Each and every one of them has unique qualities that make the products that they release very strong and one that I believe will stand the test of time and still be watched, used and read in many years to come. How big is your current location? Our current premises is over 1500 square foot and that includes a vast warehouse full of stock as well as a dedicated shop front and space that is open on a daily basis. As well as the shop and warehouse, we also have specific manufacture rooms as well as a fully air-conditioned production room that serves as a location for explanation DVD filming as well as How many products do you stock? We keep well over 5000 unique lines in stock and list many more to order. Obviously due to the fact that we manufacture our own line of items also, there is a large segment of the warehouse that is taken up by that as well as a specific manufacturing office that deals with our wholesale orders and custom. With the demand that the internet creates, it is critical to maintain healthy stock levels, however on the rare occasion we do not have items in stock, we have a great relationship with all of our suppliers so are usually able to fulfil any special orders within a matter of days. Do you sell any non-magic items, like costumes, make-up, or juggling supplies? When we moved to our public premises, I deliberately opted for somewhere just off of high street to avoid having to compromise on what we sold. I have always wanted to stick with supplying purely magic and be able to focus on the production of professional magic also. BY choosing a location that people would have to seek us out in, we are able to deal with just magic. Do you host lectures or club meetings? Currently we do not but we have plans for 2011 to begin a small Alakazam Magic member’s society whereby we have regular meeting here at the shop. It will be a great way to utilise the space we have here to put on special lectures, workshops and master classes. With the superb catalogue of professional magicians that we have worked with, there are some very exciting projects coming up in the New Year in this area of Alakazam! Do you interact with local youth? We do get a lot of young people in the shop who seem to find us via the internet. Certainly in the UK the internet has allowed a whole new generation the ability to access information and resources associated with magic. Whilst the online demos and interactive websites are a great start, many of the young people enjoy stopping by the shop to discuss magic, ask for advice and see what is new in stock. We also get the occasional work experience students for a couple of weeks during the school breaks too. Do you offer magic lessons? During the summer months we have a whole schedule of magic lessons as well as some tailor made courses. Magic lessons are a great way for people to be able to learn in a hands-on way and we have specific courses worked out so young people can enrol on a course of lessons over the summer holidays and learn the type of magic that interests them the most. I think it is important to encourage young people that are interested in magic and more so in some of the performance-driven workshops we offer. The internet and YouTube do provide a forum for worldwide digital feedback but there is no substitute for hands-on tuition from an experienced tutor and real-world performing experience.