Looking for some ‘bare (kitchen) necessities’ to master your favourite culinary recipes? Then look no further than Essentials, a distinctly upmarket hardware store on the outskirts of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. From pepper grinders to gift ware; saucepans to bird tables; planters to pet food, you will find it here, waiting to grace your home or garden. Essentials form an integral part of a parade of independent retailers in Hazelmere who have attracted customers from far and wide, by building a reputation for providing specialist goods and services. This group of twenty small businesses formed a trading association, of which Geoff Fendall, (proprietor of Essentials) is currently Chairman. With forty years experience of retail management, Geoff is an expert when it comes to peddling his trade. The results speak for themselves – when Essentials opened for business in January 1987 it quickly graduated to be a key outlet, with the local community shopping there regularly.
After testing out leafleting in local newspapers and vouchers in Yellow Pages, with minimal return, Geoff turned to local DOR-2-DOR agent Peter Lay to mastermind a letterbox campaign, targeting the local catchment area of c10,000 homes. Geoff saw a significant improvement in sales, enough to warrant repeating the exercise on a quarterly basis for the last four years. There is strength in numbers and by joining Decco, national wholesalers and champions of the independents, Geoff has been able to deliver marketing clout, competitive pricing and with access to their purchasing power, ensure very competitive pricing.
Despite increased competition from Internet shopping and big chains like Wilkinsons, Essentials has carved a firm local niche for itself. The secret of this success…? Listening and taking action – Geoff found many customers would rather hire than buy so he added a hire arm to his business, providing everything from carpet cleaners to cake stands. Geoff’s business has been nominated for the prestigious ‘Best Hardware Retailer and Independent Housewares Retailer 2006’ award. With their attention to detail and winning attitude Essentials are certainly worthy of winning the title.
Geoff Fendal said:
“It’s been very good for us – I have been impressed with the speed of reaction and degree of personal service we have received from our local DOR-2-DOR.”