Classic Comedy: Open All Hours: How to successfully manage a corner shop

WHEN it comes to running a corner shop there’s a few no-brainers: open-up on time, look after your customers, keep the shop clean and make a tidy profit.

Arkwright did all the above and more. He had a distinctive way of looking after his customers and knew how to maximise profit. His motto was ‘Get it in the till quick’ whilst making sure the deadly cash drawer didn’t crush his fingers.

Here we take a look at some tricks of the trade used by Arkwright to ensure the customers and cash kept rolling-in …

Know your customer and offer them the best most expensive

Arkwright certainly knew his customers. Regulars stepping into the shop for their usual would sometimes be offered a more expensive upgrade. Refusing the upgrade would lead to a long-winded sales pitch. The customer would either 1) endure the pitch and walk out with their usual purchase, or 2) buy the upgrade to avoid hassle and confrontation. The long-winded sales pitch is worth the effort and could result in an extra 10p in the till!

Leave the donkey work to someone else

The only times we saw beads of sweat on Arkwright’s face was when he had to shell out cash or got sight of nurse Gladys’ cleavage. Granville did all the running around which freed-up Arkwright to stand back and assess trends, customer behaviour and think about maximising profit. Getting someone else doing the donkey work sounds sensible.

Don’t throw anything away and be creative!

Imagine having a supply of tinned food with no labels on them. With no idea of the contents, it may be tempting to toss em’ in the bin. In Arkwright’s world, tossing anything away without receiving any cash is criminal. How about promoting the unnamed tins in a canned surprise bingo? ‘What’s in the tin?’ –  ‘I don’t know, it could be anything … rice pudding, pears, Baked Beans, soup … buy a few and find out‘. Genius thinking brought to us by the one and only Arkwright.

Never let anyone entering the shop leave empty handed

Any potential customer leaving the corner shop empty-handed is absolutely unacceptable to Arkwright. Someone popping into the shop to ask for directions – sell em’ a loaf of bread and a few slices of ham for their journey round the corner. When opportunity knocks, grab it with both hands and get money in the till!

A work life balance is essential

If it wasn’t for nurse Gladys, the corner shop would be Arkwright’s only reason for living. Nurse Gladys was a welcome distraction and brought out the randy side of the money-grabbing shopkeeper. All work and no play is like waiting for paint to dry in a humid room: boring and never-ending.

Protect your assets

After spending lots of money making sure the shop is well stocked, the last thing you want is some thieving toe-rag swiping it away. Arkwright had a rifle for shooting thieves but the more sensible option is an alarm, CCTV or even a hungry guard dog. Your stock is your livelihood so keep it secure – no-one is going to come into your shop if the shelves are as bare as a nudist resort!

The conclusion and recipe for success

Thinking of owning a corner shop? Keep the top-tips mentioned above in mind – learn from experience not by making elementary shopkeeping errors. Remember that cash is king and running a successful corner shop could mean ending-up living like royalty.

Remember when Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks threw their weight around the wrestling ring? A time when the Milk Tray Man secretly delivered chocolates. Mr Kipling made exceedingly good cakes but what was your favourite? Fun, straplines and nostalgic photos in the new hardback book, Section N Underpass, a nostalgic trip reliving advertising, leisure and entertainment from the 70s and 80s – fiction with loads of interesting facts. Click photo below to get the rundown:

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