Why Long Preston ?
When the decision was made to open the first Rohan Shop the question I remember being asked time and time again by Rohan customers, friends, staff , not forgetting The Bank Manager and accountant types was ‘why Long Preston.‘ What was actually a strong and sturdy traditional road side barn in a North Yorkshire village was not, at the time, considered to be a highly desirable retail location. The year was early 1983. If anybody out there has the actual date the shop opened please tell us. If you have any early pictures and memories of the shop in those first years even better. The decision to open the first shop was driven more by customer demand than anything else.
The instance of customers turning up at the Rohan office and home located not a million miles away in Airton on the way to Malham was becoming numerous and embarrassing for the customers at least. It became urgent to accommodate the people that had taken the trouble to visit and talk to us in a more conducive environment. Not many people feel really comfortable trying on trousers in what is after all somebodies living room with dogs and young children in attendance. If by any chance you where one of those dedicated individuals that did make the trek to Airton well thank you. One infamous incident worthy of repeating and may raise a smile. If you are the person that arrived on Christmas Day at Airton for a pair of Super Striders you above all hastened the arrival of the first Rohan Shop. I remember the assembled party gathered round for the festive meal and knock knock on the window. It was just about time for The Queen. I can admit now that it was a great relief. Christmas is stressful selling Rohan is a joy. By the way if you are by any chance that person now would be a great time to own up.
Anyway, there was another big reason why Long Preston. A reason that has stood the test of time.
Situated on the main road to the The Lakes and in the middle of The Yorkshire Dales. So on their way to the Lakes or Dales the Rohan customer could park outside and amble in. Most of us don’t need much of an excuse to visit these two areas anyway. We opened late into the evenings over the weekends to accommodate our travelling customers. A good customer experience in those early days, as today, was number one motivation. There was a pressing need to ensure that the customer remember their shopping experience at the first Rohan shop in Long Preston. If you remember how this was achieved please share it with us.
…..more on this later