Businesses that don't even try

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  • Businesses that don't even try
  • Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    There appears to be a type of local business that doesn’t even try to compete or to stay with the times, and I am wondering how they ever survived.

    Local to me is a One Stop Shop, while just a few metres past it was a local newsagent. The newsagent was pretty rundown even before the One Stop moved in, but clearly there was enough of a local market to sustain at least one, if not two, corner shops. The thing is, the newsagent didn’t even try.

    The awning over the door was ripped; it was slightly set in to the row of terraces, so virtually invisible (and yet they did nothing to stand out); they had no external lighting; the ‘sandwich board’ sign they would sometimes stick out on the pavement was chipped and broken; while inside, they couldn’t even be arsed to straighten the shelves.

    Anyway, after many, many years of operation, they have just closed.

    Meanwhile, farther down the street is the weirdest bike shop you could imagine. It sits on the corner of a substantial road, with no competition for miles. But the building looks (and has always looked) like a tip while, on the rare occasion that they actually opened, the mess of bike boxes and dusty, unsold Dawes bikes, combined with schraeder valve inner tubes unfolded on the floor, made it seem like you were stepping into a tornado-hit time-warp.

    Yet for all that, while both shops appear to be closed permanently now, they both mysteriously managed to keep their doors open for years and years.

    What gives? How do shops like that manage?

    EDIT: Sorry. Wrong forum. Modes, please change.

    trail_rat
    Member

    Mob money laundering 😉

    Premier Icon woody74
    Subscriber

    They will be businesses and buildings that are fully owned by the owner has have hardly any outgoings. As long as they have a small amount of income to keep them off the poverty line then they continue ticking along. There is a pub near us that at most must have 5 customers a night, but it keeps on going as they have hardly any costs.

    There used to be a restaurant at the bottom of Park Street in Bristol for years and years that was never open but looked immaculate inside. After a few years, it also got a complete revamp. It was in a prime location and the rumour was that it was used for money laundering by a local Italian mafia group!!

    Premier Icon monkeysfeet
    Subscriber

    Sounds like our local pub. The landlord is retired (former IT) and runs it as a hobby.
    Rarely open, he is bloody miserable, frontage needs a good paint, does food but the menu never changes…yet he keeps going.
    It could be so much better as there is no other village pub for miles. But he says he doesn’t need to try and is happy with it how it is.

    On a national scale, WH Smiths

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    On a national scale, WH Smiths

    Good point. Them too.

    The pub thing is a shame .If they grumble along with low overheads and low profit but if they generate more income they get caned by the breweries .A bloke I know took over a run down pub in Rammy , got it full , put food on ,had four handpumps and then got screwed over .He went back to being a taxi driver – more money and better hours.

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    On a national scale, WH Smiths

    Good point. Them too.

    Weird – I thought exactly that when I walked into one of their shops last week. I worked in one as a Saturday boy, over thirty years ago, so it’s sad to see their decline.

    Gary_M
    Member

    There’s an indian restaurant at the top of Newton Mearns in Glasgow called the Indian Platform, used to be the Malletsheugh Inn for those that know Glasgow.

    I ride passed it on my commute home, no one is ever in it, ever. It’s always open but never has any customers mid week.

    Premier Icon seosamh77
    Subscriber

    Aye I’ve noticed that afore, I’ve a mate that stays at the house across the road. Always looked empty, arse end of nowhere up there mind you.

    IHN
    Member

    money laundering

    More often than you’d think.

    Premier Icon slowoldman
    Subscriber

    Local shops for local people?

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    WH Smiths mus tbe using airport and train stations to survive, those outlets always seem to be mobbed.

    Our local post office (Melrose). Nice retail space, nice building, good location, touristy town. He is hardly ever open, shuts at lunchtimes and makes no use of his retail space other than to try and sell random dusty ornaments that have obviously come from a dead person house clearance. Yet, when he is open, there is a queue of people with money in their hands, and nothing to spend it on!

    No effort to sell coffee, sweets, books, touristy stuff, do passport photos, ebay packing service, local post cards, bread from local social enterprise bakery etc etc etc.

    Gary_M
    Member

    arse end of nowhere up there mind you

    There’s lots of houses about 2 minutes away so they have a market and I can’t think where the nearest indian restaurant is to there but no one seems to go.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    On a national scale, WH Smiths

    Yeah, but, you know [whispers] Bilderberg Group [/whispers]

    Premier Icon jonnyboi
    Subscriber

    More often than you’d think.

    too right.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    WH Smiths mus tbe using airport and train stations to survive, those outlets always seem to be mobbed.

    Yep, with the exception of airports, I’ve never understood how they stay in business.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    Yep, with the exception of airports, I’ve never understood how they stay in business.

    They seem to have done a pretty good job of getting themselves into the places where theres a captive audience – airports, motorway services and railway stations. I wonder whether in respect to their high street presence its a similar story to under performing local shops – maybe they own their high street premises so their overheads are comparatively low.

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout
    Subscriber

    Cairn Lodge Services. 😯

    bencooper
    Member

    money laundering

    That’s what the curtain twitchers of Bearsden used to think I was up to 😉

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    Cairn Lodge Services.

    Oh god – the gloom.

    Had hopes for it when Westmoreland bought it, but I think they’ve made a mistake.

    P-Jay
    Member

    SaxonRider

    Meanwhile, farther down the street is the weirdest bike shop you could imagine. It sits on the corner of a substantial road, with no competition for miles. But the building looks (and has always looked) like a tip while, on the rare occasion that they actually opened, the mess of bike boxes and dusty, unsold Dawes bikes, combined with schraeder valve inner tubes unfolded on the floor, made it seem like you were stepping into a tornado-hit time-warp.

    Is that the one on Cowbridge Road East? I thought they closed years ago!

    Less than there was 10 years ago, but there still seems to be a load of ‘Zombie Shops’ around, they’re dead, but still sort of doing stuff just waiting for something to stab them in the brain and put them out of their misery. (I’ve been watching the Walking Dead again).

    There was a Spar type shop in Dinas for years, decades even – it shared a little precinct with a brilliant Green Grocer and a decent News Agent (the sort that old people seem to like). I used to hate going in there when I lived that way, rude staff who treated it like a sort of pub to hang around with their rough mates, patches of the filthy floor missing and dark shelves full of over-priced, weird brand processed ‘food’, I’m foodie but even I draw the line at the sort of crap they sold. Tesco bought the Pub at the other end , I actually think they tried to get the community to band together to stop them, then bleating in the local press about how the big nasty Tesco was going to put them out of business – they lasted about a fortnight before the closed for good the victims of the evil supermarkets, well apart from the fact that the Green Grocer is still doing well, as is the News Agent, Tesco even employ more people because as well as killing off the crap spar, they’re getting custom that would have otherwise gone to bigger shops a few miles down the road.

    WHSmiths always seems busy enough when I pop in, like Boots I suspect they survive by selling you sandwiches and hope you buy a magazine/book while you’re in there.

    The hardware shop in Bala is strange though, the owner has a laptop which they have all the prices on (ans presumably stock control or whatever), but appart from that it’s like stepping into a darker version of open all hours!

    That and the idea of inflation seemed to have passed them by, presumably they last re-stocked some time in the 90’s.

    P-Jay
    Member

    maccruiskeen – Member
    Yep, with the exception of airports, I’ve never understood how they stay in business.
    They seem to have done a pretty good job of getting themselves into the places where theres a captive audience – airports, motorway services and railway stations. I wonder whether in respect to their high street presence its a similar story to under performing local shops – maybe they own their high street premises so their overheads are comparatively low.

    This, I love ’em – a few weeks ago I was taking my Daughter to her first School Mate’s Birthday, 5pm on a Sunday I remembered I needed a gift… the local petrol stations and mini-super markets had sod all, then the Wife remembers WH Smith at the services Ty Animal £12 – BOSCH.

    Premier Icon bigblackshed
    Subscriber

    There’s an old hardware shop in quite a prominent position which is a nightmare to ever go inside of. The owner has had it years, before I moved to Hereford 27 years ago. It’s full of all sorts of obsolete hardware, plumbing fittings, screws, brass door fittings, complete with about 1/2″ of dust. You can’t walk around it, there’s so much shit on the floors between shelves.

    The owner will argue with you about what you want. “No, I’d like 30 3″ No.10 brass wood screws, please” “No you don’t, 31/4″ electroplated nails are what you want!”

    I walked passed yesterday on the way to the dentist, I’m on the opposite side of quite a wide road, and I could hear him arguing with some poor bastard.

    How he ever stays in business?

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    Cairn Lodge Services.

    We had an emergency poo there in the Spring.

    Eerie place. Didn’t like it at all.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Subscriber

    Aye, money laundering is a possibility, especially in the service sector. There’s a big old hotel right in the middle of Brodick seafront that for years apparently had full occupancy. I never ever saw a soul in it.

    I also know of a local cad that is positively shiting himself with the introduction of the new plastic 20 quid, and subsequent removal of the paper one. His house is pretty much insulated with them….

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Not all business owners are aiming to grow their business to be the most successful it can be. Some people treat it as a job like any other, and if it gives them what they need, then great. Who cares if they miss out on other opportunities? Too much effort to chase it down. They aren’t working for you, they are working for themselves.

    There used to be an amazing department store called David Morgans in Cardiff. I think it was privately owned by the family, and when it struggled a bit they couldn’t be bothered sorting it out, they just sold the business, the building, and pocketed the money. They are probably living it up on a beach somewhere instead of struggling with focus groups and market research and whittling down the family fortune trying to turn things around. And I can’t say I blame them either.

    P-Jay
    Member

    There used to be an amazing department store called David Morgan in Cardiff. I think it was privately owned by the family, and when it struggled a bit they couldn’t be bothered sorting it out, they just sold the business, the building, and pocketed the money. They are probably living it up on a beach somewhere instead of struggling with focus groups and market research and whittling down the family fortune trying to turn things around. And I can’t say I blame them either.

    Agree mostly, the only thing that would cause me to think twice if I were in their shoes was the fact the business was 125 years old by the time they sold up and it provided a presumably more than decent lifestyle for their family. I know they sold for about £30m, but did they do the old Boomer trick of selling the family silver now, and let the next generation sort themselves out?

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Well you could probably invest £30m somewhere else, for no effort, and make more money for future gens. Did they even have any kids? Might not have.

    Perhaps they felt the writing was on the wall for a high value department store in the modern retail landscape, and are now invested in robots or something?

    squirrelking
    Member

    Cairn Lodge…

    *shudders*

    Needs flattened before any good will come of it.

    Here’s another one for Nobeer – Hourstons in Ayr. Seriously, WTF? Hasn’t changed since it was Arnotts. Oh, and Prestwick Airport 😛

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    the fact the business was 125 years old by the time they sold up

    I don’t know if anyone starting a business these days would have those kinds of ambitions. There are buildings from previous eras where owners carved the name of the business and the product they made or sold into the stone of the facade. They intended their business to be a legacy.

    These days people wouldn’t invest in much more than a vinyl sticker.

    It interesting that some of the bigger names in business have a very transient business model – Traveledge, for example, doesn’t own any hotels.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Subscriber

    Here’s another one for Nobeer – Hourstons in Ayr. Seriously, WTF

    Aye, absolutely, big old draughty building as well, must cost a bloody fortune in utilities alone!.

    Prestwick airport is a strange one, they absolutely **** themselves over years ago by trying to money grab from FedEx, who then proceeded to bugger off elsewhere. Madness as it was a busyish wee airport then. I can’t see much of a future there at all, sadly.

    Had high hopes for Cairn lodge when it was taken over by the Tebay massive, as it’s right at ideal for a brekkie enroute to the Lakes, but sounds as if it’s a not going to happen really.

    squirrelking
    Member

    It’s only been about a year since they took over though, not really that long to do anything substantial and they will be holding off spending any money if they are going to raze the place.

    Cairn Lodge that is. But I guess that could apply to PIK as well (though that looks unlikely).

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Subscriber

    It’s a shame, as it has possibly the best transport links of any airport in Scotland that I can think of, is very rarely ever fogbound or snowbound due to it’s location, Can take any aircraft around due to the main runway length, it’s just been so badly run over the years.

    stevious
    Member

    I like Cairn Lodge.

    It is a bit creepy though.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    These days people wouldn’t invest in much more than a vinyl sticker.

    Bit more sensible these days tbh. Those old stone buildings cost a fortune, and were only really possible because the owners had even more incredible amounts of money than they do now, relative to the even poorer lowly workmen who built them and mined the stone etc. So in some ways the cheapness of the buildings is a good sign.

    And the business environment is changing hugely these days, faster than it was, because things are being disrupted all the time. A massive showpieces city centre building could become a liability faster than it’s completed.

    yamyamblade
    Member

    First job was in a cycle shop in Wolves that had been there 80+ years , bosses son was supposed to be manager but it was his Dad who did books and get things ticking over whilst numpty upset most of customers and staff, great reputation for servicing/wheel building etc based on fact mechanic worked for pro teams at time as well, I was a young naïve 16 year old but even I could tell Mountain bikes were going to be huge and also mail order was the way to get a wider customer base, “they’ll never last” said the retail genius and so I left for a job in construction, think shop survived a couple of more years before closing…

    squirrelking
    Member

    It’s a shame, as it has possibly the best transport links of any airport in Scotland that I can think of, is very rarely ever fogbound or snowbound due to it’s location, Can take any aircraft around due to the main runway length, it’s just been so badly run over the years.

    Yup, run by absolute muppets. Pure Dead Brilliant summed it up perfectly I think.

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