Monday, 24 April 2017

It ain't rocket science

The story you are about to read is true and is the star of this 'you couldn't make it up' category. It concerns small business. In particular one small shop in Margate.


We saw an item in the window that was an ideal birthday present for our daughter. The shop was closed so we made a mental note of the opening times thoughtfully displayed on the door. We made five return visits at different times on different days. Still no signs of human habitation.

We rang the phone number engraved on the door and got the 'unavailable' tone. We tried the website written large on the fascia over the shop. It was simply a plug for half a dozen items that they were clearly trying to push but, no on-line shop.

So, ten days after seeing this item [which I had photographed through the window] we found a better version on line and at a lower price with free postage. Within 24 hours the parcel arrived.

When that shop owner goes into administration or bankruptcy he or she will no doubt bleat about the people of Margate, the high cost of business rates and the way that the internet is killing the high street.

If so, I hope that someone reminds him or her that the people of Margate are mainly generous, caring and appreciative of all that the town has to offer, that business rates benefit everyone in the community so for goodness sake open the door when you say you will be open and take payment from customers who are ready, willing and able to spend. Nothing killed the high street. It committed suicide.

P.S. My wife and I acquired a shop that was struggling to survive. Within a month selling similar products, we were turning over more in one day and at a higher profit margin than the former owners managed in a good week. After a couple of years we bought the freehold from the landlord. Yes, it was hard work that continued after the shop was closed but with zero retail experience we did it all and eventually sold for a price that made us feel good all over.  

I don't share this to brag, just to point out that we have been there and done it.