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Afflecks (formerly Affleck's Palace) is an indoor market in Manchester, England. It is located in the city's Northern Quarter on the junction of Church Street/Tib Street and Dale Street with Oldham Street. Dozens of independent stalls, small shops and boutiques operate in the one building. The building was once occupied by a department store called Affleck and Brown, hence the name.
Affleck and Brown was a long-established independent department store but was acquired by Debenhams in the early 1950s who owned it until 1973. It had a good reputation as a credit draper and was known for a good range of cloth for home dressmaking. Affleck's Palace first opened in 1981,the brain child of James and Elaine Walsh, the ethos being a safe environment for entrepreneurs to start out with affordable rent and no long term contracts. Unit holders operated under a license agreement which allowed them to pay for space on a week by week basis. The relaxed atmosphere and colourful maze-like layout led to Affleck's becoming a mecca for alternative culture. Both Elaine and James remained devoted to Afflecks Palace throughout its 25 years and stayed fiercely independent. Through their tenacity the establishment was able to bounce back from two building fires and overcame many obstacles. James and Elaine shied away from the limelight preferring to let Afflecks be the star, sadly this has led to their hard work and dedication going largely undocumented.
During the 1990s 'Madchester Summer of Love' period – when local bands like the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and Inspiral Carpets were at the height of their popularity; Affleck's Palace was a fashionable spot to get oversized flared jeans and tie dyed t-shirts and 'Eastern Bloc' was a popular record shop as it dealt in all the latest underground dance tunes of the time.
On 31 March 2008 Affleck's Palace ceased trading. It re-opened on 1 April 2008 as Afflecks under new management. Afflecks is now managed by Mancunian property developer Bruntwood after the expiry of a 25 year lease in 2007. It had been previously suggested that Bruntwood would redevelop the building, possibly leading to its closure as a market, with many traders having feared that closure would be likely and that notice could have been given as soon as the end of January.
Following the change in management a representative of the property developer is quoted as saying:
Never in our 30 year history have we bought one of our customers' businesses but Afflecks is a Manchester icon that we wanted to protect. We aren't however expert in managing markets, so will look for a suitable long term owner.
The independent markets has enjoyed a continued renaissance under new ownership and attracted one million visitors in 2012. All 73 units are fully let and attracting an average of 24,000 shopper every week including 7,000 on Saturdays.
- "Manchester Evening News - News - Palace Becomes Simply Afflecks". Manchester Evening News. 2008-04-13. Retrieved 2008-04-13.[dead link]
- Corina, M. (1978) Fine Silks and Oak Counters. London: Hutchinson Benham; pp. 140, 167, 190
- Deborah Linton (2008-02-01). "Afflecks Palace saved". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- Emma Unsworth (2007-02-16). "Our Palace of wonders". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- Ciara Leeming (2007-02-13). "Afflecks Palace under threat". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- Ciara Leeming (2007-02-14). "Afflecks Palace under threat". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- Ciara Leeming (2008-01-06). "Afflecks traders face boot". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- "Iconic Afflecks saved by owners". BBC Online. 2008-02-01. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
- "Afflecks is a magnet for visitors, as X Factor, Manchester Derbies and Christmas Markets boost sales in the Northern Quarter". Manchester Evening News. 21 December 2012.
- "How Manchester has turned into a tale of two shopping cities". Manchester Evening News. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-03.
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