Exciting Plans at Beach Street Felixstowe Ltd
We recently caught up with Charlie Manning, Director at Beach Street Felixstowe Ltd.
We began with a brief chat about how the business started. “The building was constructed in the early 1930s by Billy Butlin,” explained Charlie. “Our grandfather, Charles Snr, worked for him and took the site over in 1946 after the war. It’s been in our family ever since – being run then by our father, Charles Jnr, and now by myself, my brother Jonny and our mother Sarah.”
Based on Sea Road in Felixstowe, the site incorporates Manning’s Amusements with arcade games, gambling, redemption/ticket prizes, crazy golf, take away food and drink (fish n chips, burgers, ice creams, etc.), and Sands Restaurant and Copas Bar with evening entertainment and music. A Sunday market also takes place on the site with several shop units, some of which are open during the week too.
There are plans in place to develop the site even further, as Charlie explains:
“Going forward, we are in the final stages of construction on our Beach Street Felixstowe (BSF) project where there will be 16 business units created from upcycled shipping containers for boutique shops and retailers, and a street food style catering offer with indoor and outdoor dining areas. There will also be a large balcony directly overlooking the sea, coastal style landscaping and greenery, with a laid back holiday/beach vibe, with some background music and quirky décor.”
Beach Street visitors are mostly local with day trippers usually from with a 90-minute drive time. Of course, Felixstowe does attract visitors from elsewhere and Charlie often welcomes visitors from Scotland, the USA and Australia.
“With four holiday parks plus a range of boutique hotels along the seafront, Felixstowe is a wonderful place to stay,” says Charlie. “Felixstowe has always been a tourist hot-spot and is well set to cater for visitors all year round.”
While the business does have many regular customers Charlie is constantly developing new ideas to keep things fresh.
“The addition of new machines, games and prizes is the standard way we have updated our offer and kept relevant. We have been promoting ourselves to a wider audience over the last few years using social media and local press. The Beach Street destination will strengthen our appeal to a wider audience and offer a more varied experience to the existing visitors who will have a reason to pop in (and come back regularly) and hopefully use our amusements and crazy golf too.”
Of course, like so many others in the leisure and entertainment industry, the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent lockdown has been a blow for Beach Street.
“It’s had a huge impact on the whole industry as Easter and the bank holidays around May are a huge boost to the seafront and leisure industry. Coming off the back of a hard long winter, we need a boost to stay afloat. We had to furlough all our staff, and then make the business safe for staff to return and for visitors to feel secure when they were finally allowed to return too. The daily operations are much more labour intensive and we had to buy equipment and sanitiser to meet safety standards and regulations. The main emphasis is on social distancing and more frequent cleaning and deep cleaning.”
Charlie is feeling very positive about the future and looking forward to opening the new units.
“Manning’s Amusements is the original and best destination in Felixstowe and Suffolk,” he says, “offering the greatest variety of entertainment in one location – indoor crazy golf, mini bowling, pin ball machines (new this year), plus all the traditional arcade prizes and games, gambling… And with the addition of BSF there will be an amazing selection of artisan and boutique shops and street food outlets. It will be the first of its kind in East Anglia.”
Right now Charlie is focused on letting people know what’s on offer and is keen to reassure customers that all necessary care is taken to ensure their safety, including the removal of a number of large games to create more space for social distancing.
“We are passionate about the industry and keen to build on our well-earned reputation going forward. The news units will be a major boost not just for us, but for the town too. Felixstowe is a wonderful place with so much to offer and we’re proud to add something new and exciting to the mix. Staycations are going to be even more popular this year but with facilities such as ours and everything else the town has to offer, including the beach of course, Felixstowe really is the place to visit this year.”
For more information visit: www.BeachStreetFelixstowe.co.uk