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Tyneside Teenager Opens Toy Shop
A 17 year-old boy has gone into business by opening a toy store in a Gateshead shopping centre.
By James Tweedie
Whickham-born Michael Brodie has inherited the entrepreneurial spirit of his father Jack, who owns a wholesale clothing supplier in neighbouring Newcastle.
Michael started outselling toys from a stall in the Metrocentre mall. But at the end of July he and his business partner Matthew Mitchell leased a 600 square-foot unit in the centre and opened their shop Toy World, selling toys and grown-up gadgets.
Michael said: "We sell everything from remote control helicopters to pocket money toys.
"We saw the shop's potential as a toy store, considering how close it is to the cinema.Myself and my partner are running the store and we have another person who I know from school."
Michael left Whickham Comprehensive School at 16 and studied business management course at Newcastle College for a few months.
He said: "I didn't take to the academic side of it. My dad is in business and that helped inspire me.
"I've been interested in business since I was small. It was the talk of the dinner table with my dad and granddad.
"I was entrepreneurial at school and used to take part in markets and car boot sales."
Michael and a friend visited the Canton import and export fair in Guangzhou, China in April.
He said: "It was a massive experience. The whole culture was the biggest thing to get round. We had a couple of appointments and got to see how Chinese factories work.
"You hear a lot of talk in the UK about exploitation but the conditions we saw were fine.
"The way they do business over there is completely different as well. It's more of an experience and the courtesy and politeness is much more obvious than in the UK."
Toy World is one of more than 330 stores in the Metrocentre, which was built by Sir John Hall's company Cameron Hall Developments in 1986 and sold to Capital Shopping Centres in 1995.
Michael is keen to expand his business in the future by opening new branches and moving into the import and wholesale side of the trade.
He said: "In the long term, I'm keen to get involved in more imports and distribution.
"We'll also be looking at more outlets on short leases, particularly over Christmas."