A MECCA for DIY enthusiasts, Mossley Home Improvement Centre reaches a notable landmark at the end of March when it celebrates its 50th birthday.
The Manchester Road emporium, an Aladdin’s cave, continues to prosper in an era when huge DIY superstores dominate the retail sector.
“I think we do so well because we are local, have the stock and also the knowledge and after sales which you don’t get at big stores,” explained manager Andrea Dooley who has worked full-time in the business for 40 years and a further six part time.
It was Andrea’s parents Alec and Diane Jackson, along with another couple, who founded Mossley Home Improvement Centre which opened at Easter 1970.
The business was then located a stone’s throw further along Manchester Road in what is now Aurora café bar.
They moved to their current and much larger home in 1981 and Diane, who is still involved in the business, recalled how takings trebled at a stroke.
Alec and Diane, who live in Mossley, became sole owners in 1976 of what has become a well-known and respected business in the town.
Diane still works part time at the business, despite admitting to being well past retirement age.
It is a family business which involves four generations as Alec and Diane’s grandson and Andrea’s son Brett Dooley is one of four full-time employees, the other two are long-standing Andrew White and Yvonne Bailey.
Alec and Diane’s great-granddaughter Ebonie Pearson, 10, also helps after school – she is a pupil at Livingstone Primary.
In the early days it was Diane and the wife of the other business partner who ran the shop as Alec was a production engineer by trade.
They later opened a similar store on Concord Way, Dukinfield, which they ran for more than 30 years and which Alec worked full-time after being made redundant.
Diane recalled the sea of change that has taken place over the last half century.
She said: “We opened here in 1970 and the following year we had decimalisation which was chaotic.
“We had a big poster in the shop to convert money and there was a lot of confusion.
“The likes of B&Q didn’t exist in those days. The fact we were already established when they came along helped us.
Diane admitted buying patterns have changed as well as product ranges.
“We certainly didn’t have cordless power tools when we began,” she mused.
The shop stocks building and plumbing materials and everything you need for decoration homes and gardens as well as small domestic appliances.
Diane added business is best when there are defined seasons.
When there is a bad winter, it is great for sales of snow clearing equipment and sledges which have not been in demand this time.
Likewise, in a hot summer, sales of garden furniture as well as gas for patios and barbecues soar.
Diane said: “We have a very loyal customer base and some are from well away.
“When they visit their children in the area, they often make our shop their first stop.
“We also have visitors from Holland who have taken photos and are fascinated by our shop.”
Diane is optimistic for the future with three further generations of the family involved.
“Hopefully it will be passed from generation to generation and we will be here for another 50 years,” she said.
Look out for special celebrations as a special birthday raffle is to be held with every customer spending more than £30 given a ticket while a celebratory meal is also planned for family and staff.