INDEPENDENT businesses in the market town of Boroughbridge are fighting back as the high street faces more closures.
Former president of Boroughbridge Chamber Of Trade, Stephen Craggs, of electrical retail store G Craggs Ltd, said the town’s success showed winning price wars was not everything, after more major retail brands appointed administrators.
“Ten years ago, I was in the audience at a conference when the chief executive from a large electrical chain store stood in front of a packed hall full of independent electrical retailers and told us it was good to see the faces of the guys he’d been trying to put out of business for the last ten years,” he said.
“He added, if we were still there then, we’d still be here ten years later. Never has a truer word been uttered.”
Mr Craggs said the business had reaped the benefits of personal service.
“The most valuable referrals are always from customers who recommend us to their friends and neighbours. It’s the sort of marketing which money just can’t buy,” he said.
Sian Foster, of Boroughbridge jewellers Ella Georgia agreed she has noticed a return to old-fashioned values.
She said: “Convenience and price have dominated trends over the last decade or so but, if our experience is anything to go by, then people are beginning to look for something more.
“Often, the person who serves you owns or runs the business so they have an extra reason to really look after their clients.”
Sue Barnes, of Boroughbridge-based arboricultural consultants Barnes and Associates has just re-signed a significant new contract with a client, despite not submitting the cheapest tender, securing the future employment for her team.
She said: “It underlines the fact that quality counts.
“We may not have been the cheapest but the client knows we strive to do the best possible job.
“It’s that which helped us clinch the deal.”
Nigel Hamilton-Evans is also preparing to celebrate a decade running Boroughbridge Post Office. He said he was convinced personal service had helped to generate loyal customers.
“Something as simple as being greeted by name can make a big difference and, as a result, we can be pretty confident that when we celebrate our first ten years, many of our original customers will still be there with us.”