Sudbury: Domestic Appliances store marks 40th anniversary
- Credit: Archant
DURING the past 40 years, the Bacon family have survived two recessions and have seen dozens of fellow shop-owners succumb to tough financial conditions.
But this month, their store Domestic Appliances, which is believed to be the second oldest retail outlet in Sudbury, will celebrate 40 years of independent trading.
Even more remarkably, the Cross Street store – started by Terry Bacon and his wife Norma in 1973 – is now being run by three generations of Bacons.
Although the family has expanded the business, the core has remained the same, selling goods such as vacuum cleaners, cookers, dishwashers, fridges and washing machines, and providing a repair and maintenance service.
And despite stiff competition, they still have an army of regular customers who prefer the personal service they offer to the financial deals offered by the big retail chains.
Heading the business today are Neil Bacon, 52 and his wife Karen, 50. Neil’s mother Norma, who is now 78, still comes into the shop to help out. It is the personal relationship they have built with the clients that Karen Bacon credits for the longevity of the business.
She said: “As a small business, we have to be really interested in the customers to keep them coming back.
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“We have continued to offer a repair and parts service because it is important to be able to help people out if they have a problem.
“It hasn’t been easy to compete with the big retailers because we have to do everything ourselves – sell, repair, direct and be on the premises all the time.”
To help it remain viable, the shop has joined an electrical corporation for small businesses, called Euronics.
Mrs Bacon continued: “They act on our behalf to get a better price, which has helped keep us in the market.
“We also offer a more personal service and try to give the customer more than they would get if they walked into a big warehouse.
“Another factor in our survival is that the rates are lower because we are not right in the town centre – and we also have our own car park.”
The couple’s sons James, 25, and Lee, 24, have also just joined the family business. Mrs Bacon added: “They have lots of ideas which help to stop us from getting stuck in a rut.
“It’s nice to know the business has lasted this long and we would really like it to carry on in the future for the sake of our sons.”