The Tesco Chainstore Massacre
1st May, 2006
How one small English town took on a superstore - and won
This is the second time that Ronald Wright has shown me his selection of nails. He’s evidently proud of them. We’re in the back room of Ron’s ironmonger’s shop, which takes pride of place, by virtue of its longevity, in the thriving high street of Sheringham on the north Norfolk coast. Seventy-five year old Ron has worked here for sixty years, as his father and grandfather did before him, and as his two sons do now. Blythe and Wright, founded in 1897, is truly a family firm.
Out front it’s a busy Saturday afternoon. The sun is shining, and the shop is full of men buying paintbrushes, wheelbarrows, drill bits and dowelling. Staff bustle past, talking about laminate and MDF. Ron tells me to pour myself a cuppa from the huge brown teapot that sits on top of a filing cabinet. Small, white-haired and immaculately dressed in shirt and tie, brown shoes and a blue Blythe and Wright overcoat, Ron is proud of what he has built up, and in his rolling Norfolk accent, he is telling me why.
‘We’re one of the last ironmongers in England ,’ he says. ‘It’s all B&Q now, isn’t it? But look at this. Look at this range.’ He indicates the back wall,...
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