Ho! Barts Amusement Arcade in Bideford is the latest UK amusements operator to hit the international headlines, after owner Rob Braddick replaced plush prizes on the arcade floor with hand sanitiser and toilet rolls, amid a nationwide demand for the sanitary products.
The owner of the North Devon arcade, run by Braddick’s family since 1932, sought “to raise a smile” by filling crane cabinets with the sought-after products, as shops across the country increasingly experience shortages.
“Those hand sanitisers are like hen’s teeth,” Braddick told the Daily Mail. “I found it in a cupboard above the sink at home at the weekend and it was completely unopened.” “There used to be a 3ft tall Spiderman in the pod before, but that tiny bottle of sanitiser is probably more valuable at the moment.”
Since its first appearance in the North Devon Gazette, the story of Braddick’s inventive idea has been reported across the globe by media outlets from China Daily to CNN. However, it’s not just the media attention that could prove positive for the arcade.
“I’ve had people ring up and say they’re not going to go abroad for their holidays this year, so they’re thinking of coming down to Devon, which will be good for us,” added Braddick.
“We have thousands of visitors each year, so the more the merrier.”