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The Tintin store

April 2010

THERE is no typical Tintin fan.
“It’s not students like a lot of people think,” says Roy Foulger who runs Joe’s Store with his wife Susan, where they sell official Tintin merchandise, including games, mugs, soft toys, T-shirts, fleece jackets, posters and greetings cards.
“I have a lady in her eighties who collects Tintin. She’s on her eighth watch.
“Although most children don’t know who Tintin is because it’s not on TV. But that’s about to change with the three Spielberg movies coming up. It’s just going to go bananas for us. The fortunate few in the UK who have the Tintin franchise are just going to clean up.
“Apart from the Tintin shop in London, I believe there are only five of us in the UK.”
The first movie The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Craig, Simon Pegg, Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis, is due next year.
“I’m not seriously addicted to him like a lot of people,” says Roy of the intrepid reporter created by French author Herge.
“People spend hundreds of pounds on him. A lady the other day bought every Tintin book I had left.”
Last month, after two and a half years on Mansfield Road in Carrington, they reopened Joe’s Store on Friar Lane, a stone’s throw from the gates of Nottingham Castle.
As well as Tintin, which is their core product, they sell independent designer gifts and homeware. Hand-embroidered cushions by Jan Constantine at £80 a pop “fly out” says Roy. There are Bretton tops from France, Orla Kiely mugs, Caroline Lisfranc bags, Alessi pet bowls, Love Me T-shirts and Demano bags from Barcelona made from vinyl street banners.
“The world is awash with beautiful products and many of them you won’t find in chain stores,” he says.
“We know what to buy through experience and gut feeling.”
He adds: “For the past two years we did Electra bikes from California and we had car crashes outside the shop with people staring at them in the window.”
The shop is only a third of their business. Behind it is the design studio, with a “major global plc” among their clients.
And they sell French enamel signs and numbers by mail order all over the world.
“They’re a federal product in France, so they rarely appear in shops,” says Roy.
“They have to get them from their town hall. We did a deal with a guy who makes them and business has just incredible. We sell thousands all around the world.
“We had a feature in the Washington Post which was syndicated to 80 other papers and magazines and our email exploded. We just couldn’t cope.”
Roy, 59, grew up in Sneinton and has had a colourful working life, from selling clothes in the Victoria Centre to bicycles on a beach in the US.
In Nottingham in the early eighties he opened Hockley’s very first shop, selling posters.
“It was me and Brownes and no people,” he laughs.
The business collapsed in the first recession which set him off on further adventures - much like Tintin.
“I’ve had dinner with OJ Simpson and sold Paul Newman a pair of shoes.”
He laughs: “Life’s full of adventures isn’t it?”

Joe’s Store, 61 Friar Lane, open seven days. Tel: 0115 941 8882.

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