The Queer Emporium

“Allowing innovative businesses to set up and take that leap is part of the ethos of the arcades, and that’s why they’re filled with so many innovative independents.”

The Queer Emporium first opened its doors in June 2021 as a pop-up store for Pride Month.

The success the business had during the pop-up, led to them becoming a permanent tenant in the Morgan Quarter.

Yan White, who runs the store, said the business is the first of its kind in the world.

The Queer Emporium is 18 different queer-run businesses in one, selling queer literature, clothes, art and a café space where people can enjoy iced coffee and tea.

He said: “During lockdown, I was doing market stores with my partner who also runs a queer business. We just met loads of different queer vendors and makers and I realised that there was definitely the possibility for a market.

“This idea developed more and more until we realised it would be possible to fill a shop – and that’s what ended up happening and here we are today.

“I think being in the arcades in Cardiff has been the perfect location for a business like this. We’re all about championing independent businesses within our store – as does the arcades.

Since opening its doors earlier this year, they have already collaborated with a number of businesses in the arcades, including Uncommon Ground and Bird and Blend.

Yan said: “Morgan Quarter have put up pride flags through both the Royal and the Morgan Arcades which just that alone I know drives loads of our customers in there to and get photographs with them.

“I think one of the standout things about Cardiff is obviously the arcades, because they’re so unique. I’ve never been to a city with as many old arcades, and there’s such an incredible atmosphere.

From drag events and queer comedy nights, to using the arcade as a runway for ballroom dance – the Queer Emporium has helped to bring together Cardiff’s diverse LGBTQ+ community in the city centre.

“The future for the Royal Arcade is so exciting and the bringing together of the old Victorian atmosphere but with all of these cool new things that are happening. It’s really exciting.”