Wednesday, August 25

Ringwood - A Tale of Two Shops

Local news for those in the Dorset\Hampshire\NewForest area

I discovered a few days ago that my local (and very independent) outdoor shop Barkers of Ringwood, recently relocated premises a short distance away in Ringwood.

So I popped in earlier to sniff out the story behind the move. Was there a sordid tale to tell maybe? Was this to be a revenge against the High Priestly Purveyor of Paramo Pantaloons?

Nothing so torrid it turned out. As I walked in through the door I was hit by the obvious increase in floor space & an amazing amount of natural daylight lighting up the whole place, courtesy of some very sensible conversion work.

Mr B, smiling broadly in his new abode, was remaining tight lipped about quite what plans he has for the enlarged premises. But meanwhile his personal approach to service, especially where boot fitting is concerned, and zeal for Paramo etc continues unbridled for those who've come to trust his advice.

He's gained quite a reputation over the last couple of years as The Man Who Knows How to Fit Boots. A rare enough service these days.

Now if this all sounds like I've been bought off, perish the thought. Barkers, as an independent is still in business because of the attention to detail for each customer who walks through the door.

And that is a story that deserves to be told

Ah but that's not the whole tale. It gets better.

Those visiting Barker's old premises (still with me here I hope?) will find they are now the home of Rough Gear, previously an on-line outdoor retailer, and a new name to me.

Well I had to didn’t I?

Go take a look I mean.

Not that I get any pleasure from visiting two gear shops in the same day.

No. Not me. I don’t do kit.

And I find that Rough Gear are another independent company with just this one shop, having made the leap into the physical world after setting out on-line.

There's little actual overlap between the two competitor's products with
Rough Gearstocking climbing, camping (Lightweight - Hurrah) kit along with a small range of clothing and waterproofs, especially Montaine.

And once again it’s a shop staffed by people who know what they are talking about.

So that’s TWO independent outdoor shops in a small market town on the edge of the New Forest. A location that Millets disappeared from some considerable time ago because they couldn’t make a go of an outdoor business here.

Between theses two there is now a wide range of many specialist brand names that can prove quite difficult to track down in some of their much larger High Street competitors. Which is good for those of us who know the sort of gear that we like.

Well it seemed churlish to go in two shops without returning with something to show for it all.

Ever seen one of these X-Bowl contraptions?

Well me neither. But it is very durable construction and at a sensible price.

In times of all this economic doom & gloom its heartening to see successes like these two entrepreneurs based on some very old and durable values to us, the outdoor customer.

Big Retailers take note.

Customers that are happy with the advice, service & goods make for repeat business through the door.

Support your local indie outdoor shop!


John, you not been reading my blog?


or mine...
obviously we are not required reading for Mr Hee
George (LBP) - I missed that one. Thanks its already warned me what to watch out for when I use it for real

Darren (WS) - now now cheeky. You know that I love you all. But my RSS feeder now has 100+ links which I've learnt to speed read based on
1. time available
2. my interest level
3. not getting distracted as I do it
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