To be truthful I stumbled across Rex while I was looking for something else. Drawn in by the intriguing piles of wooden boxes and camouflage netting which adorn the stairs to this hidden gem, which is tucked snugly away in the basement of the Rapid store just off Queen Square in the city centre, I easily forgot the mundane item I was supposed to be buying and went exploring. The open plan layout houses many more wooden boxes of varying sizes, piled together to provide display for some excellent examples of the young, vibrant entrepreneurial spirit which is so evident in the city at the moment.
Not sure where to start, I went to the little coffee shop, Quills, where I was fascinated by the coffee brewed in the individual glass filter holders, the liquid slowly dripping through into the cup beneath. I also indulged in a tiny, rich brownie. It was lovely and just enough to set the coffee off perfectly. I was impressed by the range of high quality and hand-made items displayed in clusters, seemingly just popping up in the makeshift displays. There was some fine art on show in one area and clothing, jewellery and lots of other types of merchandise dotted around the retail space.
Even though the retail space had been open for less than a week, vendors were obviously attracted to the flexible lease terms and the fact that you could rent quite a small space to showcase products. I was told more spaces were due to be taken, so the choice would continue to expand and change, bringing fresh merchandise to the outlet on a regular basis. The space is a great platform for start-up and young businesses, who often struggle to find a suitable, affordable platform in the city centre. The emphasis is heavy on art and beautiful, hand-crafted products, although there were other top quality items on sale as well. I was told that the youngest vendor was 11 years old, showing that this is truly a space for everyone who wants to sell their products. To top all this, I was told that Rex were the only one of two places the Independent Liverpool card could be officially purchased off- line.
I would list the vendors here, but there were so many I would not have space to mention them all and feel I couldn’t pick just a few names to promote. I though the quality on offer was so good that the best way to see what is going on at this new ‘concept store’ is to visit yourself. You won’t be disappointed.