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Toffer

Do small shops really have it so bad?

I was interested in this article in the Telegraph about small shops and whether all their woes really are the fault of the supermarkets http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/xantheclay/100054035/get-your-act-together-crappy-local-shops-%E2%80%93-and-stop-moaning-about-tesco/

Now it's a bit right wing for my tastes but I do see some truth amongst the over simplifications, for example our local butcher has just closed, I did try to support them and bought most of my meat either there or at markets, however it was very frustrating to just get there at 5.00 as the shutters were going down, all the stock has long since been cleared away and the cutting room washed up so you could only buy packaged stuff as well as not opening on a Sunday.

Our local greengrocer is no better, opens late half the time, I have tried using them in the hope of some expert advice but upon asking "Which potatoes would you recommend for good roastie?" Got little more help than "Dunno, we have those over there"!

Now supermarkets have a lot of advantages but with the efforts being made to encourage us to shop local and some of the high profile campaigns to do the same, are the small shops doing enough to help themselves?
Penny Outskirts

They sounded like rubbish shops
12Bore

They sounded like rubbish shops

True, there are many, they are usually the first to blame others for their misfortunes though.
Barefoot Andrew

We had a greengrocer's here that were similarly useless. They closed within a few months of opening, and weren't missed.

Our butcher though is fab!
A.
LynneA

She sounds so stuck up that I'd be inclined to be surly to her in the hope she doesn't scare off the other customers.

And as for some of the comments Twisted Evil
12Bore

But why should shoddy, expensive, poor quality goods and services be supported?
Shan

Our butcher also keeps hours that make it almost impossible for me to shop there. I can't get out at lunch because I don't even take lunch and as I finish at 5pm, I can't make their closing time of 5pm. I'd be happy to get up early and go but they open at 9am and quite frankly, there are too many chore that need doing on a Saturday morning to make it there.
earthyvirgo

It's not just small shops either.
It's service places like garages too.

I've swapped to using our local garage because of the excellent service. When I booked our van in for it's MOT last summer, they insisted on giving me a lift back up the hill, even though it's only a half mile walk. They also dropped the car back off at the house and just pushed the bill through the letterbox.

I've noticed another local garage offering evening MOT's recently, it's businesses like that who'll survive.

Our small shops however are shoddier than shoddy.

EV
Mrs R

Yeah I'll only support small shops if they're good, not just for the sake of it, and some are absolutely pants!
Pilsbury

when we ran our craft shop we were open 9am to 6pm 6 days a week, on the other hand if the shutters were up you could ring the bell and we would see if we could help you, we served a lady at 11pm when she ran out of sequins for the costume she was making for teh next day, we sold someone a como mini drill on christmas day, even when we had half the floor up to replace the rotten joists on the floor we had someone stand at the door as i jumped over 4ft holes to the celler to get her the right shade of thread.
i know we lived above the shop so it was easire for us really but our policy was if the shutters are up we will open for you.
Penny Outskirts

We have had to cut our opening hours though, simply so we can have some sort of life Sad . If has impacted on our turnover, but we just could not keep working 7 days a week for 8 hours a day (6 on Sundays)

The reason we had to do this was because we could no longer afford to have staff to cover us when we're off, thanks to our lovely landlord charging us for extra maintenance work on their building, and business rates that have trebled.

But I think we're enough of a niche market, that people make the effort to come to us, and we do mail order.

It's not easy in retail Sad
Pilsbury

We have had to cut our opening hours though, simply so we can have some sort of life Sad . If has impacted on our turnover, but we just could not keep working 7 days a week for 8 hours a day (6 on Sundays)

The reason we had to do this was because we could no longer afford to have staff to cover us when we're off, thanks to our lovely landlord charging us for extra maintenance work on their building, and business rates that have trebled.

But I think we're enough of a niche market, that people make the effort to come to us, and we do mail order.

It's not easy in retail Sad

Very true, we were an independant shop and owned the freehold, there was my Mum, Dad, Me and OH as well as a couple of part time volenteers who were on incapacity but doing a day a week or so just to get out so we didnt have to pay anyone other than a few freebies every now and then, if we had to pay someone it would never of been possable
jema

There are so many sides to this, the best DIY shop in Swindon which closed many years ago now, did struggle on the simple grounds that the very nice couple who ran it, did not keep the same hours B&Q did Sad

And the basic reality is that the average working Joe does not take time off work to buy DIY bits, a lot will be bought Sunday or in the evening.

Do you blame the owners for wanting a life, or the public for not going out of its way to support them?
baldybloke

I am lucky in that we have a great butcher in town. They start at 7am to set up their wares and start clearing away at 4.30 to close at 5.30pm. That's quite a long day by anyones reckoning. Also the rents in the town centre are huge, making it very tough on small independant shops. I think that you will find their hours haven't changed over the years, it ours. We are expected to work longer, more unsocial hours than we used to.
Our local greengrocer has had to relocated out of the town centre due to very high rates that were demanded when the lease came up for renewal. I still try and support them as I know that all their wares are locally sourced.
Just think what happens when supermarkets gets a monopoly in a town. They aren't be that cheap then.
marigold

I once overheard the owner of one of my local greengrocers criticising a fellow shop-owner who had gone out of business and was blaming Tesco's. He said something on the lines of "He went out of business because he thought he could play golf everyday and the shop would run itself... Didn't get that if you have a business you have to work at it... I reckon you could make a good living off the back of Tesco's if you played it right...". The successful shop is right next door to a largish Co-Op and close to an Iceland, but is always heaving with customers, though it's not particularly cheap, nor better quality than the chains. People shop there because it's a nice experience and they have a wider range of goodies. Shan

Ultimately, if you run a small retail business, you need people to buy things from you, which means you have to be open when people can do so. Rob R

There are so many sides to this, the best DIY shop in Swindon which closed many years ago now, did struggle on the simple grounds that the very nice couple who ran it, did not keep the same hours B&Q did Sad

And the basic reality is that the average working Joe does not take time off work to buy DIY bits, a lot will be bought Sunday or in the evening.

Do you blame the owners for wanting a life, or the public for not going out of its way to support them?

That is a good point and for something like that you would think they'd consider only opening the shop over the weekends and close it when people don't come in. You can be flexible when it's something like hardware that doesn't need cleaning down afterwards as a butchers does.
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