Stanfords is home to the world’s largest collection of maps, travel books and globes. Walking into its iconic store conjures up the magic of past exploration and adventures yet to happen. And the latest adventure is that it’s on the move, although you are unlikely to need one of their more detailed maps as it is relocating just around the corner.
Having been on Long Acre in London since 1901, Stanfords is relocating to nearby Mercer Walk. The new store will retain the magic of the Long Acre site but in addition there will be outdoor space and a larger ‘back of store’ area for the rapidly growing online business.
Vivien Godfrey, Chairman and Chief Executive of Stanfords, says, “This exciting move is all about ‘right sizing’. Our in-store business remains very important but we have had rapid growth of our online business and need a better distribution of space between office and store. Nielsen, the global measurement and data analytics company, carried out market research for us showing that Stanfords is primarily a destination shop.
“Our customer base is very loyal and many people tell us they make a pilgrimage to Stanfords when in London, so we hope they will be delighted with our new premises.”
During the preparations for the move, a wealth of fascinating material has been uncovered which will go on display for the first time from March next year in a six month long exhibition at the Mercers’ Covent Garden Estate, a few steps from Stanfords’ new home. The free event will showcase historical items including letters from Captain Scott and Florence Nightingale as well as items belonging to current day famous explorers. Visitors will also be able to explore the past, present and future of maps and discover how anyone can make the leap from traveller to explorer!
Godfrey and the team see the move as a beneficial moment in Stanfords’ history. “We will offer the existing, wide range of maps, globes, books and travel related products, and we will grow some areas which are newer to us such as maritime charts. We are now the only chart agent in London and are growing our range of products and in particular our ‘print on demand’ charts and digital maritime products.
“We will use available technology to create many more ‘made to order’ customised maps. We have also seen a very significant increase in the demand for personalised, as well as customised, products. In addition we will be expanding the café and introducing an adventurous global exploration theme to our menus!”
Stanfords will officially open its doors on Mercer Walk in January, although from mid-November there will be a Christmas gift boutique open to the public on the ground floor.
Edward Stanford Limited was founded in 1853 by Edward Stanford in Charing Cross in London. In 1901 the Company moved to its current flagship location in Long Acre, Covent Garden. It has a further shop in Bristol, a website and a specialist Business Mapping Service based in Manchester.
The company sells online at www.stanfords.co.uk