A street food pop-up which started during the pandemic as a way to help vendors get their dishes in front of customers has been deemed an “incredible success” by organisers.
David Griffiths and Michael Robertson, the duo behind the STAXX Aberdeen project – a creative social market box park dedicated to independent local firms which aims to open in late 2022 – launched Backyard Beach Collective on the last weekend in April.
Opening in tine for the May Day bank holiday, the duo teamed up with Codona’s Amusement Park to bring a new street food offering to the city which has seen more than 40,000 visitors.
They welcomed 18 local businesses to the pop-up who have all experienced great success. Many street food vendors were unable to trade throughout the pandemic with the lack of events taking place and this operation has been a lifeline to many.
Taking up residency at the amusement park’s car park at Aberdeen Beach across the four and a half month period, David and Michael launched a second location, Backyard at Union Square, as a result of the popularity and demand for the beach. This venue remains open on an on-going basis.
The idea for Backyard Beach Collective was not just to act as a fundraising tool for their STAXX dream, but to support local food vendors during the pandemic.
Building the dream
Many of the vendors helped raise money for STAXX via donations added to bills and David and Michael also launched their own street food firm, Dutch fries specialist, ABERDAM during the event.
All profits from ABERDAM, which sold 16,000kg of fries, and the donations from other vendors/the public will go towards funding the full planning application plan which is estimated at around £70K.
The fries firm has now taken on a two-week residency at Shiprow Village’s Ivy Lodge in the city centre due to its success.
David Griffiths, said: “There’s been some real success stories as a result of it. We’ve had Olive Alexanders, a newer business, launch with us and they have gone on to do other pop-ups at 99 Bar and Kitchen, and we’ve had three other businesses who started with us too – they have all continued to do well.
“It has given small businesses a real support throughout the summer. Haydn’s Woodfired Pizza and The Sushi Box were given somewhere stable to generate consistent revenue when they weren’t able to get in front of customers.
“ABERDAM has done so well too. It means we can press on and use the money raised to not only pay for all of the planning costs that are required for STAXX, but also we’ve been able to turn it into its own business after demand from the public which is incredible.
“We’ve managed to make a significant contribution towards the planning application costs as a result and it is nearly ready to submit.
“It will continue to be a huge support to us. Our main aim with STAXX is to improve the city and bring more to the city centre and try give it some life back.
“Codona’s have been great and they helped us bring something to the city which we’d never have been able to do without their support.
“STAXX is the priority for now and although nothing has been decided, we’d love for it to return next summer as it has been a massive success.”