It’s been almost five months since I was in London, and I realized I have yet to take you to a virtual trip inside my favorite store in all of London- the Sylvanian Families Store in Mountgrove Road. This particular Sylvanian Families store stands apart all others in the world because it is the original home of Flair Sylvanian Families products. Also known as The Sylvanian Store Keepers or SSK, it is an extensive walls-to-ceiling collection of current UK products and merchandise. With the end of Flair’s distribution agreement with Epoch, the Japanese creator and manufacturer of Sylvanian Families, in 2013, SSK now owns all existing stock of Flair Sylvanian Families products. While this transition means a more unified market strategy for Epoch, it also signals an end to the era of those glorious blue boxes. I visited the store twice in the week we were there and truth to tell, I would’ve gone there every single day if we had more time. The first time A♥ took me, it was a day after we had arrived and right after he finished his work meetings. I have only a few pictures because I was simply overwhelmed with joy. The second time, well, I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves. :-)
I made it!
When you get to SSK, the first thing you would notice is- Holy Moly!!!- so many blue boxes! It took all my restraint not to jump up and down (the way I did outside, on the curbside, as you can see in the picture above). Here I was, giggling for the camera.
A♥ wisely suggested a photo op with Belinda and Kitty of SSK (Rocky had the day off), perhaps to take my mind off all the things I wanted to buy, teehee. Freya Chocolate was looking a little shabby that day, but then again, with so many people wanting to touch her, it was a surprise she hadn’t gone bald yet.
And then, armed with my packages, it was time to go. :-(
Four pictures? That was all I had? Concerned by this lack of pictures (and you know how Filipinos love their pictures), I armed myself with a new list and a firmer resolve. A♥ and I went back to the store a few days later and I made a conscious effort to document the experience in pictures. Somewhere along the way, I may have gotten a little too excited, but I did manage to snap some really nice photographs.
This is the Picadilly line train we took to get to Mountgrove.
We got off at the Arsenal Station in Highbury, London.
There was a bit of a walk but since the weather was fair and breezy, Kittymama’s wheezing was barely noticeable.
A few more minutes of brisk walking and we found the street we wanted.
Even from afar, Kittymama could not contain her excitement. “There it is,” she shrieked at the top of her voice. It was a good thing the streets were empty that time of the day.
Another picture (because she insisted)… and she looked ready to pounce!
She made her way right in, gently whispering “Yoohoo! Anybody home?”
To our great pleasure, we were welcomed by Rocky (Ben Miller, Operations and Retail Manager). I told Rocky that he has fans in Manila- and I happen to be one of them! (He blushed, heehee.)
Kittymama felt right at home in SSK’s Sylvanian village. She really didn’t want to leave anymore. (Apologies for the blurry picture, my hands were shaking in excitement.)
Here’s a clearer and closer shot of the center table display.
There were so many details to look at that I drooled, heehee. Good thing I managed to retract that string of saliva or I would’ve died of shame!
On top of the center display were these wonderful air balloons that were made by hand especially for the Club Collectors’ magazine in summer 2012.
A quick tour and we saw dioramas and displays filling the shelves with so many fantastic things to see!
Each display was meticulously detailed and made to look as realistic as possible. I guess that’s why we never tire of Sylvanian Families- there are just so many things you can do with them, so many ways to display and play with these fascinating critters.
The Seaside Restaurant was entertaining guests that day. I took a peek and no one seemed to mind my intrusion.
And the majestic Regency Hotel was also filled with guests coming for a visit- this was just too cute for words!
After all the gawking and drooling, the picture taking and more drooling, of course there was shopping to be done (again!). I had planned my luggage to make those boxes fit, of course, and I bought some Sylvanians for a friend too.
Before saying goodbye, I just had to have a last picture with Rocky. Meeting Rocky, Belinda, and Kitty were highlights of the visit too and I shared stories of my countrymen’s fondness for Sylvanian Families with them.
If you ever get to London one of these days, do drop by and say hello to these lovely folks at SSK. These are the people who make our critters come alive for us. If Sylvanians had superstars, Rocky, Belinda, and Kitty would be them!
My gracious thanks to SSK and their lovely personnel for making my visits welcome and memorable. Hope to see you all again soon!
Sylvanian Families Shop
68 Mountgrove Road Highbury London N5 2LT
020 7226 1329