Independent businesses and retailers are the life-blood of many small – yet thriving – towns and villages.
Their services are invaluable – in some cases offering a lifeline to older, more vulnerable residents, who often find they cannot make it to larger towns and cities for whatever it is they require.
Which is why it’s so important to show these small shops and outlets our support – otherwise we may find one day they might not be there, when we need them most.
But what does it take to make a smaller business stand out from the crowd, especially in the face of fierce competition from bigger brands?
One shining example is Gammons Barbers, of Long Sutton, which has been under the ownership of the same family for more than 50 years.
As well as catering for all men’s hairdressing styles, the High Street-based business has also developed a popular retail side, selling extensive range of toiletries, electrical products and grooming items for both men and women including hairdryers, electric shavers, toiletry sets and ladies make up.
Roy Gammon (82), who took over the shop as manager back in 1962, before taking owner ship six years later, has recently handed over the reins to his son David.
Gammons Barbers prides itself on its friendly and traditional service in comfortable surroundings – and it’s this, coupled with giving the customer what they want, which is the secret to its success, according to Roy.
“You’ve got to treat your customers right and give them what they want,” he explained.
“If you are starting a new business, you’ve got to make sure there’s nothing else like it in the area; you need to have the right stock or services at the right time.”
Giving people good old fashioned customer service is also key to keeping them coming back and in turn encourages them to tell their family and friends about your great service, goods and prices, says Roy.
“When you’re self-employed you also have a lot more pride in the business than perhaps when working for someone else.
“You want some prestige, and I think self-employed people have more drive to get customers through the door.
“It’s basically all about treating your customers right – if they come and ask you for something that you don’t have, go out of your way to get it, and they will remember – and come back.
“Treat them fairly and they will do the same to you,” he concluded.
For more information contact Gammon’s Barbers, High Street, Long Sutton, on 01406 362270.