‘Go that extra mile’ - Fakenham businesses share their top tips for surviving the test of time
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020
Our high streets are built on years of specialist knowledge, with staff always on hand to give that extra special service you don’t always get.
We went out into Fakenham to uncover the tricks of the trade from businesses with centuries of combined experience as part of our Shop Local campaign - our drive to get people supporting their independents in the run-up to Christmas.
They are our trusted high street stalwarts - shops that have served us through thick and thin, and now need our support more than ever.
But what are the secrets of a great local business?
On Bridge Street you’ll find Get Smart boutique, a perfect example of a long-serving independent.
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Get Smart has been in business for almost 30 years, offering customers unique and trendy clothes and accessories.
Owner Annie Bush said her top three tips for retail success:
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“You have got to like people and be as helpful as you can. We do not want them to come in, ask for one piece of clothing, pay for it and move on.
“Always change the stock for your customers to enjoy. Having affordable prices, not horrendous prices will also help, with the stock that people actually need.
“Go that extra mile. In fact, some might say you would play the role of agony aunt. Offering people a coffee and a chair and talking to them about anything.”
Another business in the town celebrating 30 years of trade is Lawnwise and Leisure on Hempton Road in Fakenham.
The shop sells and services lawnmowers and other garden machinery and has been in the market town since 1990.
John Lingwood, owner, shared his tips:
“Sell quality, not quantity - give the public what they want. You could get the cheap stuff, or come to me and get more bang for your buck. That is what makes people come back.
“We just try to give each person a personal service, we know most of our customers by their Christian name.
“If you treat them with respect and correctly you will get repeat business.”
Operating in the town’s Miller’s Walk shopping centre for the past 35 years, J&D Papworth Butchers and Graziers have been providing the people of Fakenham with quality meat products from across Norfolk.
Owner of the butchers, Sam Papworth shared his three tips:
“You must have first-class customer service.
“Local and quality products that bring your customers back.
“In these times, you also have to react to the business conditions around the town. During the pandemic, we have started a delivery service, and we have a good online presence.”
Health food shop The Larder on Norwich Street has been in the town since 1973.
Janis Greenaway took over the shop in 2016 after the passing of her mother.
Mrs Greenaway has been involved with the shop since it opened and has seen what helps keeps a business going for so long.
She shared her top tips:
“You have got to look after people the best you can with friendly, polite and individual service.
“Adapting to the business. We have been through such a rocky time, you have to try and adapt, it is difficult but we try to keep the traditional value and have a friendly face for our customers.
“Look out for good quality products for your customers to keep them coming back.”
Shop Local is a use-it-or-lose-it plea to shoppers to consider independent traders and businesses this Christmas and beyond in a bid to bolster our beloved high streets and spark a wave of online spending.
Keeping money in Norfolk and Waveney is vital as the economy splutters in the wake of the pandemic. According to research by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies for every £1 spent at an independent business 63p ends up back in the local economy compared to only 5p spent at a national or international retailer.
• Know a great local independent in Fakenham you think deserves attention? Let us know by emailing reporter Aaron McMillan via email@example.com