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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 16-Nov-07

 


Friday 16-November-07

Open all hours

This was the name of a UK TV comedy with Ronnie Barker and a young David Jason, set in a corner shop. My parents had one of these for a couple of years and I worked long hours there, selling everything from bread to beer to basic medicines.

The British corner shops still survive, although these days it seems only immigrant families are motivated enough to work the long hours. Immigrants, though reviled throughout the world, are often the engines of the economy, and the USA is probably the best example. When you have nothing and are a stranger in a strange land, long hours may seem much better than the dread of a former life.

But it is not all plain sailing and even back in the '60s it was sometimes cheaper for my parents to raid Tesco for loss-leaders like sugar than to pay the higher cash-and-carry prices. Tesco now is a much bigger outfit and is challenging the corner shops in their own territory with Tesco Metro corner shops.

'Open all hours' is not the end of the story, as the underlying principle is about customer service. My parents understood it well and were as helpful as they could be, including doing home deliveries. Of course Tesco do this too, now.

Perhaps the last bastion of the corner store that cannot be duplicated is the personal relationship that a small retailer builds up over many years with their customers. Whilst superstores work hard also on relationship management, nothing beats knowing the shopkeeper, knowing their family and kids and knowing that your custom is critically important to them. .


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