DIY shop looking good 40 years on
December 09, 2005
The business: Dad’s Shop, West End Road, Mortimer Common.
The boss: Liz Telling, 33.
What’s your business about? “It’s a DIY shop. We do everything you need in the house, from tools to small electrical goods and household products.
“We cover plumbing, timber, household goods like kitchenware, bulbs, ironmongery and we cut keys.
“I also do mail order. I’ve got a website with a link where you can send an order.
“We also have a lot of products the bigger stores do not hold any more – like starch. It’s a
very old product that many people do not use any more but we still stock it.
“We have good support in the village and from other businesses because we are one of the few originals.”
How did you start? “It started 40 years ago with my grandfather Ronald Bull. I think it’s called Dad’s Shop because, 40 years ago, men did all the DIY.
“It was a family run thing but before I did not have do anything towards the shop. Then my father decided he wanted to step back and considered selling it.
“It sounded wrong to me so I said ‘I can do that’ and I took it over. It was more sentimental rather than anything else.”
Do you have any employees? “Yes. I employ my husband Mark, one other full-time employee and three casual staff.”
Was it easy or difficult to get started? “I took over from my father so I’m the third generation.
I took over from my father in 2000 but I have worked there for 11 years. When I took over I had been working there for six years, so it was quite easy because customers knew me.”
What do you like about being your own boss? “Obviously the freedom to come and go as you please, which is more coming than going because you end up working longer.
“Also being able to improve things without having to check with everybody else.”
How is the future looking for your business? “I would say it’s looking good. We will have been here for 40 years next year and we are quite happily tottering along.
“There are about 100 houses being built down the road so people will need to do some DIY.”
What would be the biggest threat to your business? “Taking away the car park next door.
We have a forecourt but it only takes three cars.
“At the moment there’s a gravelled car park next door, which customers can use.”
Do you think that the council or the Government do enough to help businesses?
“I do not feel they do anything to help small businesses.
“The rates are huge and that’s the biggest killer
“But we are lucky that we own the shop otherwise it would have killed us.”
What’s your take on the economy at the moment? “A lot of other businesses say they definitely feel as if there’s a slump, so it does worry you that it’s going that way.
“We have not felt anything so far but we have been lucky because the weather has been quite cold so we have sold a lot
What is the key to your success? “We are a friendly, family-run business, and if there’s a product that we do not stock, we will get it for the customers. We never say no if we can help.”