Friday, July 19, 2013

Rose Hill Stores, a sad and predictable end

It would be a heart of stone that didn't at least feel a modicum of sympathy for the owner of Rose Hill Stores, which closed for business last week. Shortly after buying the old Post Office site and opening a Spar convenience store, the neighbouring shop, Thresher, went bust. He didn't cause their demise, far from it, but it did show that Soviet style planning and licensing of shop types doesn't exist in this area. There's a link here to other blogs on the store wars.
He also started selling newspapers, something plenty of other shops in Marple do, and are having to find other things to add to their offer.
Not long after, the next door shop was turned into a rival and bigger convenience shop, owned by a chain with bigger buying power, the Rajah Brothers.
Then it got ugly. Undercutting, police raids, accusations of intimidation and rows over access to the car parking at the front. The pictures above illustrate the lengths the owner went to in order to prevent cars parking on the land by his shop in order to shop at the Premier. Bollards and chains also made it very hard to park there, and threats not to shop at Premier if you parked there. I only ever went to Premier once, when Spar didn't have what I needed. I gave up when the parking situation got unpleasant. 
The only possible lesson you can take from it is that whenever you start any business there will be competition. You too will be someone else's competition. Not one single customer owes you their loyalty because you want to be in business, or because you are a person like them, just trying to make a living. Time and again independent shops are up against multiples. It is hard, very hard. But the ones that succeed aren't the ones that worry about what the competition do, but who think about what the customers can get that the competition can't do. 

In happier Marple retail news, I notice that Felix at Murillos Tapas Bar and Restaurant has opened a deli counter. Good luck mate.

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