WELL-KNOWN kid’s clothing and toy store, Funky Monkey, this week celebrated eight years of trading in Penarth.

The popular store, located in Windsor Road, opened in 2015. Previous occupiers of the shop included Butter Me up Bakery, The Cornish Pasty Company and Ferrari’s Bakery.

Justin Horton who, with wife Rebecca, owns Funky Monkey said: “It was hard work transforming the shop from a former bakery to an attractive children’s clothes shop and we didn’t have any real budget to work with. Thankfully, family and friends helped out and we opened our first store, with the help of our mascot – George the Monkey!”.

Justin explained how the high street had changed around their family business over recent years.

“We’ve seen so many changes around our little shop, some good, some concerning,” he said.

Penarth Times: Funky Monkey store owner Justin Horton with a selection of the best-selling toys from the shop. Pictures: Funky Monkey.Funky Monkey store owner Justin Horton with a selection of the best-selling toys from the shop. Pictures: Funky Monkey.

“The closure of the banks has definitely changed things; people have less reason to come into town and as a result footfall has declined dramatically. The creation of a bank ‘hub’ in Penarth is vitally important, and we urge the Welsh Government to move forward with a hub for Penarth quickly.

“It’s really great though to see how the independent businesses have been so resilient and many of them that started the same time as us, like Crepe Escape and Anne Morgan Jewellery, are still going strong.”

As for the future, Justin and Rebecca have diversified and, as well as the clothes, now sell a wide range of toys at the store.

“In 2019 we expanded and opened two other shops, one of which was purely a toy shop. We were blown away by the reaction to our toys, so our Penarth shop now has a huge range of toys. The best thing is that they are all so reasonably priced with pocket money items starting at £1.95.”

And the bestseller? Justin said: “The classic toys are always the most popular. This season, Care Bears, Top Trumps and Spirograph have absolutely flown out. The kids and the adults love the classic toys, and there’s a reason those toys are still around after many decades.”.

Penarth Times: Funky Monkey shop front in Penarth. Picture from Funky Monkey.Funky Monkey shop front in Penarth. Picture from Funky Monkey.

Like many traders, Justin and Rebecca hope to stay on the High Street for many years to come, but remain realistic.

“Without the support of local people local shops won’t survive,” said Justin. “We’ll continue to work hard and hope that people will come to us, and the other shops in Penarth, rather than shop online or out of town.

“This will be especially important at Christmas, when shops make most of their income for the year”.