Shops & Markets

Independent shop Soda to move to new Altrincham unit – after landlord raises rent by £10,000

By David Prior at

Independent comics and music shop Soda is to move to new premises just yards from the Altrincham interchange – after its landlord suddenly decided to increase the rent on its George Street unit by £10,000.

It’ll be the third move for the popular shop – which sells everything from vinyl records and comics to trading cards and sweets – since Ben Molesworth opened in Altrincham three years ago.

Soda was originally based in the Grafton Mall, but moved to George Street when all four of the other shops in the complex closed ahead of its redevelopment.

And Molesworth said he was now being forced to move again after his unit’s new landlord decided to up his annual rent from £16,000 – which was already significantly more than Molesworth’s other Soda shop in Chester – to £26,000.

Molesworth has now agreed a two-year lease with owners The Stamford Quarter on a vacant 1,600 sq ft unit on Stamford New Road, next door to Domino’s Pizza, which is bigger than Soda’s current base.


Soda’s new base on Stamford New Road

After the initial disruption, Molesworth said he was now “really excited” about the move.

“It’s a newly refurbished unit and it’s absolutely immaculate – we can’t wait to pick up the keys and move in.

“We’re going to have lots of fresh stock and we’re now doing brand new comics and records as well as vintage ones.”

He also revealed that the new Soda will also incorporate Altrincham’s first bubble tea café, run by his colleague Holly.

Bubble tea is a tea-based drink containing tapioca balls and is hugely popular in Asia.

Ben Molesworth outside his Soda shop on George Street

Ben Molesworth outside his Soda shop on George Street

The row of units opposite the interchange have been largely vacant in recent times, but Molesworth said the Stamford Quarter were allowing them to test the water in their new location.

“It’s priced in a way that will allow us to see how it goes,” he added. “If it doesn’t go well, we will find somewhere else, but if it does goes well, we’ll look at a 10-year lease. The plan is to be there forever.”

Soda is looking to open the new shop on December 1st.