SUPPORT OUR SHOPS: Taking the time to give top customer care

CARE LIKE CLOCKWORK: Director Catherine Duce and manager Sally Buckley outside Penman Watch and Jewellery, Pied Calf Yard, Sheep Market, Spalding.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
SG050717-127TW.
CARE LIKE CLOCKWORK: Director Catherine Duce and manager Sally Buckley outside Penman Watch and Jewellery, Pied Calf Yard, Sheep Market, Spalding. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG050717-127TW.
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About 70,000 watch battery changes, 8,000 strap and 5,000 clock repairs, have taken place at Penman Watch and Jewellery, Spalding, since it opened nearly 20 years ago.

Located in Pied Calf Yard, off Sheep Market, the business started out as a specialist repair centre for antique and more modern clocks, watches and jewellery under the guidance of founder and managing director Michael Strutt.

Its evolution into a business with an online presence, engagement, wedding and eternity (anniversary) rings has been driven by director Catherine Duce, a relative of Michael’s who joined the business in 2010.

Catherine said: “When I first started, the shop was refitted and we brought in new, modern brands of watches and jewellery.

“The aim was to offer something a little bit different from what you see on the high street of the UK’s major cities.

“We have very loyal customers so we wanted to show that it’s possible to have a range of watches and jewellery, carefully selected for their style and quality of manufacture, for people who come to a market town like Spalding.

PRECISION SERVICE: Director Catherine Duce and manager Sally Buckley inside Penman Watch and Jewellery, Spalding.  
Photo (TIM WILSON): SG050717-127TW.

PRECISION SERVICE: Director Catherine Duce and manager Sally Buckley inside Penman Watch and Jewellery, Spalding. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG050717-127TW.

“The shop is traditional, but with a contemporary twist as well, and I believe that we’ve become the main port of call for anyone with a watch or jewellery to repair.

“But the most important thing is how we treat our customers, who range from the age of 15 to 95.”

Nine years before Catherine’s arrival, Penman went through its first expansion when a hairdresser moved premises which allowed Michael to bring in designer watches and jewellery to sell.

It also brought the shop two South Holland Best Business Awards in three years between 2000 and 2002.

The shop is traditional, but with a contemporary twist as well, and I believe that we’ve become the main port of call for anyone with a watch or jewellery to repair or buy

Catherine Dune, director, Penman Watch and Jewellery, Pied Calf Yard, off Sheep Market, Spalding

At the time of its reopening by South Holland and the Deepings MP, John Hayes, Michael said: “The premises next door became available and after the expansion work, the shop has grown three-fold.

“As well as the traditional antique clock workshop, there is a new extension which is very minimalist and they both go together quite well.”

The shop’s capacity for pioneering achievements was proven again just months after Catherine joined in 2010 when Penman Watch and Jewellery was awarded £16,000 by the Wash Fens Rural Development Programme.

Thinking proactively, the grant was used to develop a greater internet presence for the business and take on a new, part-time staff member,

Speaking to the Spalding Guardian at the time, Michael said: “For our business to survive in changing times, we have recognised the need for the development of our internet site.

“This money will allow us to push our online internet business by expanding our presence on sites like Facebook and Twitter to make our services slicker and more prominent.”

Michael’s status as a member of the British Watch and Clock Makers Guild put him in high regard with customers from as far afield as King’s Lynn, Peterborough and Stamford.

Catherine said: “We’re part of the Company of Master Jewellers, a network of independent jewellery retailers across the UK and Ireland.

“As a shop, we’re also long-standing members of the National Association of Jewellers which gives our customers that added bit of reassurance about the customer care and meticulous attention to detail we offer.

“There are five of us altogether in the business, including myself as a director and shop manager Sally Buckley who works at opposite ends of the week to me.

“Michael does all the clock repairs, although he works a little less in the shop now than he did before, and we have two other staff members who work part-time.”

The evolution of Penman Watch and Jewellery is set to go on into its 20th year, with Catherine promising more new ideas for the business.

She said: “I got into clock and watch repairing through my family, having previously worked in the fresh produce industry.

“We all love dealing with members of the public who we try to help as much as possible and we’ll continue striving to be a destination shop for gifts to suit families and friends.”

• Penman Watch and Jewellery is the 25th business to be featured in our weekly Support Our Shops series since it was launched in January.

Whether it is food and drink, clothes and jewellery, pet products or eyecare, Support Our Shops is a chance for any independent or family-run business based in South Holland to raise its profile, free of charge.

So if you would like us to visit you for an interview and photograph, email winston.brown@iliffepublishing.co.uk