Spotlight On: The Blind Mole
Tucked away in the corner of a former 18th century industrial factory, step inside family-run antiques and salvage shop The Blind Mole and you’ll find yourself amongst a treasure trove of quirky finds – many of which with an interesting story to tell…
After spending 20 years working with disengaged young people for a crime reduction charity, Brett Scott teamed up with his wife Vicki to turn their passion for buying and selling old curiosities online into a more tangible, customer-facing role.
“It basically started when I went along to an antiques fair and randomly bought an old cheese dish,” Brett tells Exposed. “From then on I was just kind of hooked to it. We had storage premises on Rutland Road, but it was getting to the stage where people were coming in thinking it was a retail space. We wanted a place where people could visit to see and feel the items and talk with us about the stories behind them.”
With Kelham Island currently the city’s most exciting area of development, when a unit became available inside Albyn Works the Scotts were keen to get involved with the thriving community. The Blind Mole opened its doors late last year, utilising Vicki’s eye for detail when it comes to laying out the shop floor – “She’s definitely the creative one; we’ve even had people say some displays have given them ideas for their home” – and Brett’s knack for sourcing stock at fairs, from other dealers and sometimes picking up unwanted pieces via his houseclearing business.
The family effort doesn’t stop there. Sons Ronnie and Teddy are integral to the running of the store (nine-year-old Ronnie came up with the name) and this is reflected in the store’s ethos: an unpretentious, laid-back atmosphere that invites all ages to come in and explore. The store has a specific penchant for pieces of local history, and if you search through you’ll find plenty of intriguing items points towards the city’s past.
“I don’t really like buying online because you don’t get the chance to get a feel for the product. Whether it’s artwork, taxidermy, furniture, or just quirky little bits, we’ve got to personally like each one. I don’t mind a bit of rust or a few chips either, because that’s what gives the pieces character – we’re just the custodians who are here to tell the story.”
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