Chimp Store in Leeds is the cornerstone of the cities streetwear scene. Owners Mark & Neil poured a great deal of love and passion into the store and its evident from not only their output every day, but the growing scene in the city – a scene that was a fraction of the size when I grew up there.
It’s important for a store like Chimp to exist physically I think, especially in cities like Leeds. Sure, you could buy your FUCT & Hundreds gear from loads of different websites, but supporting your local store like Chimp means you’re not only buying from someone who is through and through an OG member of that community, but you’ll probably learn something about that brand in the process.
Furthermore, doing events of this nature helps build a community around the store and scene. Events of this nature are ten a penny in London and it’s important that people make the effort to do the same in different areas. Get active, meet people and learn more. Props to Chimp for making this happen.
This particular event took place for Halloween and like every Chimp event it blocked up Leeds Thorntons Arcade and everyone left with a smile on their face. The event also featured goody bags which included product from The Hundreds, HUF, indcsn, Jason Markk, ALIFE and ASICS and there was food provided by Reds True BBQ, and drinks from Wray & Nephew and Leeds Brewery.
Rather than just post event photos, I wanted to catch up with Mark Bedford, Chimp’s co-owner, to delve a little deeper into the motivations for putting on events, and how important they are for the streetwear community.
Can you tell us more about the event?
Trick or Chimp was our first event in a while. We wanted to throw an in-store party and get our customers & friends involved. We had the idea to do it on halloween as it’s an often overlooked holiday in the UK & it was something me and the team could all get behind and have some fun with.
Why do events like this?
I feel that it’s important to keep a focus on our brick & mortar store. It’s easy to overlook the physical store when social media takes hold of everyday life but we want to keep the shops presence at the forefront of what we do! It’s important that we don’t forget the art of interaction and people know that they can come to the store and get the information they want on product also.
With the advent of the internet and people buying from wherever they please, how important is it that you do these events in a city like these?
Leeds has just been named the most active area outside of London, so when people are visiting we want them to know that Leeds is inline with London for events and community as well. Throwing events like these not only promotes the Chimp brand but it also brings our customers together.
How important is a centrally located niche store like Chimp to the culture and community of a city like Leeds?
I feel that with the power of social media The Chimp Store is a hub. Not only for buying some of the best streetwear and trainers out there but also a place to meet friends not only between myself and customers but also customers and customers.
Did this streetwear scene exist in Leeds before Chimp?
I’ve been part of the Leeds streetwear scene for nearly 15 years. For that entire period of time I’ve been based in the Thorntons Arcade, meaning I’ve been able to meet a lot of customers personally. Then when moving to my own venture, The Chimp Store, the customers followed and continued to fuel my love of streetwear.
What we’ve done with Chimp is focus on what brands work together. Building up a cohesive image of what I want from a streetwear store. Once we had the foundations in I then quickly began to add footwear into the mix from Nike QS, Jordan, adidas Originals & ASICS.
Do you have any more plans for events in the future?
Yes! Its something I want to plan more of absolutely. Every event we have done to date has been a success and from my side of things its great to give something back to the customers he continue to support us. Whether that’s free food from Reds True BBQ, Goody Bags or a free beer it gives me great delight to meet like minded people from the surrounding areas and see them enjoying themselves in the store.