Spotlight: Roger Wade
— 12 Apr 2017, 22:07
It's hard to believe but it's been almost 6 months since Boxpark Croydon launched and, in that time, we've shared an exciting variety of events, dishes and moments with you. There's so much still to look forward to but it's not all about Croydon. Big sister site, Boxpark Shoreditch, is being upgraded for a summer relaunch and there's even talk of new sites opening in the future. Curious? We thought you might be. That's why we went directly to Boxpark's creator and CEO, Roger Wade, to get the latest.
Boxpark Croydon has been open for almost 6 months and it seems that locals and visitors alike have been extremely responsive to it. What do you make of Boxpark Croydon’s success so far?
I’ve been overwhelmed by the response from local Croydon businesses and residents. Everyone said to us, why are you going to Croydon? Our answer was 'why not?'. Everyone, not just the 'hipsters', deserve a selection of good places to eat, drink and play!
Has there been any standout moments for you since Boxpark Croydon launched?
I think bringing Stormzy
to his home town for the GSAP album launch was the biggest highlight to date. Stormzy was raised nearby in Thornton Heath, and he has blown up to become the figurehead of the UK Grime scene. It’s important that we celebrate the best of Croydon, and encourage the youth of Croydon to aspire to his success. What else can customers look forward to in 2017?
I think it’s important that we offer a diverse range of events to appeal to people of all ages. We are working on a full calendar of events including 12 large scale weekend events. Watch this space for announcements...
What is your favourite thing about Croydon?
The people! The people of Croydon are so down to earth. They don’t have an attitude. They want the best things in life and are proud of their borough. Love Cronx!
Which meal would you recommend to people that haven’t been to Boxpark Croydon yet?
It would be unfair to select just one of our traders but, if forced, I’m a big fan of healthy food like Cook Daily
; who are also open at Boxpark Shoreditch!
Boxpark Shoreditch is also undergoing a makeover for a summer relaunch, can you talk about the changes that are being made?
Boxpark Shoreditch was originally built to last 5 years and we are now in our 6th year. So, we need a bit of an upgrade. Most of the work is purely cosmetic, new decking, seating, plants, glazing, and toilets! By closing off the top deck at either side of the site and creating a clear ceiling for the central dining and events space, we’ll be able to offer an environment that allows you to enjoy the full Boxpark experience and keeps you protected from the elements.
How do you plan to relaunch the new and improved Shoreditch site?
I think we want to focus on a back to basics campaign. First and foremost, Boxpark needs to create a great environment for everyone to come down, enjoy some great food, a few drinks and a range of events and exhibitions.
What is your favourite thing about Shoreditch?
I love the open air decking areas. It’s great to sit in an Urban Park in the middle of Shoreditch, enjoy the sunshine, food, drinks and music!
What have been some of your biggest career highlights?
I’ve been lucky enough to have enjoyed two major highlights in my career. Creating the original British streetwear brand, Boxfresh;
as well as the world’s very first pop-up mall, Boxpark. But my biggest highlight has definitely been being my own boss for nearly 30 years!
Can you talk about the future of Boxpark? What’s next in your plans?
We are close to announcing our next London site and then we hope to roll out nearly 30 sites, over the next 5 years, in the UK but also internationally. After that, I think I will be knackered, and it will be time to put my feet up and spend quality time with my family.