New generation ready to take over at one of Warrington's oldest businesses (From Warrington Guardian)
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New generation ready to take over at one of Warrington's oldest businesses
Updated 9:31am Wednesday 23rd April 2014 in News
A FAMILY run business is ready for the seventh generation to take the helm.
Roberts, which runs the Clarks store in Golden Square, is Warrington’s oldest retailer with a continuous presence in the town since 1857.
But now John Taylor, from Walton, is handing over the baton to his 26-year-old daughter Sarah to continue the family trade.
John, aged 61, said: “People have forgotten about us and think we have gone away because we have moved from Bridge Street.
“We left there in 2007 to move here and we also have seven other branches under a commerical partnership with Clarks across the country.
“I know originally the founder of the business came from Lincolnshire and used to manufacture shoes at the Bridge Street shop.
“In the store there is a concrete floor upstairs and you can see the bolt holes where they used to manufacture shoes.
“During the war shoes were rationed and my grandfather was a pillar of the community.”
After so many years of trading and seeing the high street landscape change dramatically over the years the secret to success is simple believes John.
“If you are going to succeed you have to invest,” he added. “We have iPads in our stores and we are trying to bring the internet into the store. You have to keep moving forward.”
But despite the growing online trade the store still pulls in customers who want to see the products in the flesh before they buy.
That has seen a huge growth in the store’s click and collect scheme where items can be reserved and picked up in store.
John said: “My store manager here started when she was 16 and is now in her 50s. She reinvents herself every few years because you have to.
“You can have great longevity if you are prepared to move with the times.”
And now stepping into well trodden family shoes after studying business at university and undergoing extensive training is Sarah.
She said: “I grew up in the store in Bridge Street so it is in my blood. A lot of the staff have seen me grow up.
“Now for me it’s about moving the business forward.”
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