Today I went into Pedlar’s, a department store in Ilfracombe. Nick Pedlar, the owner, was on the phone trying to source a scarce item for a family. They had found what they wanted online, but because Nick had helped them find something previously, they wanted to give him their custom. Once again, he was phoning around trying to source what they wanted.
I’d gone in to buy some potting compost. I picked up a bag I saw and went to pay for it. Ivan, who works with Nick, asked if that was the size I needed and pointed out another size in the shop and two more larger sizes they kept out the back. As it happened, I did want one of the larger sizes and left very satisfied because I’d got just what I wanted.
It’s unlikely that this level of service would be available at many national chains. How often have I heard: “If it’s not on the shelf, we haven’t got it.”
It’s no surprise that a number of national retailers are failing. What is more surprising is that so many have survived until now when they have provided such poor service.
What is so valuable in Ilfracombe, and I’m sure it’s similar in some other North Devon towns, is very helpful shopkeepers who offer a personal service. They care for their customers.
That is why I always go to Pedlar’s first for my garden supplies and other local shops for other goods before even thinking of a big garden centre or national chain.
Perhaps larger retailers and high streets could learn from this?