Why PropDog Magic Shop is Closing its Doors: Full Story

Is this a sign of where the magic industry is heading? Find out what happened and what this means for the future of magic.

Dave Bonsall spraying cards at camera at propdog
PropDog Review Show: Screenshot

Over the last ten years, Dave Bonsall's brick & mortar magic shop, PropDog, rapidly grew to become one of the staple magic retailers in the UK. However, at the start of July, the shop closed its doors for the final time. As this is the end of an era, let's look at how a shop as beloved as PropDog could end up winding down and why it's not all doom and gloom.

It doesn't seem so long ago when PropDog was in its prime: the shop had regular live streams on Facebook and YouTube, boasted some of the biggest stands at conventions, produced numerous bespoke products, and stocked the latest and greatest in the world of magic.

In many ways, PropDog was riding such a high that you could never have imagined their iconic shop in Hounslow, London, would eventually close up shop. But in a lengthy Facebook post, Dave explained how operating PropDog became extremely costly.

Some of the challenges the shop faced, aside from competing with other online magic stores, included: having multiple members of staff to pay, the landlord increasing the rent, the pound devaluing against the dollar, customs duties, and Brexit. Classic Brexit. By the sound of things, it got to a point where it was costing more to run the shop than it should've done.

Most magic retailers stock products from wholesalers, the big one being Murphy's Magic, based in the USA. The impact of Brexit, cost of living and other factors have meant that for UK-based shops, the prices have skyrocketed, hurting in-person shops.

Unfortunately, PropDog is not the first (and likely not the last) physical magic shop in London to succumb to these pressures. Even the iconic Davenport's Magic Shop in Charring Cross closed in 2020.

We asked our followers over on Threads (yeah, we're on Threads) how they felt about PropDog's closure and what it says about the magic world as a whole, and you lot were quick to respond. Henry Harrius (yeah, Henry Harrius follows us on Threads) replied, saying:

One of our very old magic store (called Magic Box) closed down as well. From what I know, another magic store will close down next month as well.

Note: Harrius is not referring to the UK Magic Box shop, which shares the same name and remains open today.

Yet, all of this does not mean the end of PropDog. They still have loads of stock on sale on their website. Only this time, when it's gone, it's gone! Plus, as Dave addresses in his Facebook post, this is the start of an exciting new chapter for his company.

The business actually started as a way for Dave to fulfil his passion for building props for magicians, hence PropDog. Now, he can return to his roots and focus on creating… props!

Dave has relocated to Wales and has shared a glimpse of his new workshop online. Hopefully, it won't be long before we can get our hands on the latest products he's been working on. Knowing Dave's reputation, there's a lot to be excited about! Props to him, I say!

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