Tommy Fong has opened a shop for Willow merch
But it’s not going to be here for long
Willow-themed t-shirts, teapots and more are all up for grabs in York city centre, for a limited time only.
Gracing the streets of York once again, local legend and former club-owner Tommy Fong has opened up his massive hoard of Willow-themed memorabilia to the public. The Willow merchandise has been selling like hot cakes so far, with only a few paintings from the club left.
For those who don't remember, or are too young to know, the Willow was a popular nightclub located in a former Chinese restaurant, famed for its cheesy music, carefree atmosphere and free prawn crackers.
Soo Fong, Tommy's wife, said: "The main Willow things we are selling is the silverware and we have a few Willow t-shirts left. I think we stopped using the silverware over ten years ago."
The pair are also selling an eclectic range of items including coats, pottery, jewellery and furniture.
Soo added: "Our children aren't interested in our stuff, so that's why we are selling their inheritance, to fund our retirement!"
Since shutting down Willow two years ago, the couple have been around the world, including visits to Spain, China and the US. Now they want to travel to Australia or New Zealand as soon as they've found new tenants to replace their shop.
Katie Smith, a keen Willower in her first year, says she saw Tommy Fong at the end of last month chatting to people in the building when it was covered in scaffolding.
The recent graduate said: "I was really hoping he was actually planning on opening Willow 2.0 in the shop."
Tommy Fong claims he doesn't miss running the Willow every night anymore: "It took a while to get used to it, but it probably was the right time to retire."
However, he is sad that new students won't get to experience the Willow, saying: "You could dance and drink anywhere. I think clubs now, they don't allow people to drink on the dancefloor.
"The Willow was unusual, it was an old fashioned place, like going back into the 50's! We started the disco nightclub thing six years ago, in 2009. Before then, we had the dinner-disco, where the disco would go on until 2am."
According to Soo Fong, plans for a new restaurant had been in the works before they fell through. The building had been occupied by a tailors for over 25 years, until they moved down the road last year.
The shop is open 11 – 5 everyday except Monday, when it is closed. You can find it next to Student Castle on Walmgate.