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Rohan a Family Affair

Al and Joy Thorong La Pass 5380m north of Annapurna

It’s 25 years since the first Rohan shop opened in the Lake District.

The Evans family opened the first Rohan Franchise in Windermere 25 years ago, that’s a long time ago. Al, Joy and Ben Evans are very much part of the Rohan family and Rohan Keswick is now the home of the Rohan Originals a fantastic display of the early history of Rohan in the garments that changed the outdoor world for ever.

We have profiled some interesting people on Rohantime over the last few months, Peter Sidwell, Simon Calder, Graham Bell, Mike Parsons the list goes on. This month we have a Guest Interview with Al and Joy Evans. Sharing their business story and the history of the first Rohan Franchise. We also got Al talking about his experiences in outdoor pursuits. This really has spanned a lifetime and is as much part of his life today as it was 50 years ago. We also learned that Al and Joy are celebrating 50 years of marriage this year. That can’t go with out a mention. Al and Joy have included some tips and observations on running a business and family life.
Above all this is the story of a family that many Rohantists, Lake District residence and visitors know well. It spans two generations. The high and lows. The story of a real family business. Trading through recession and booms for a quarter of a century. This story is part of the social and economic history of the Lake District. We are running the interview over four instalments during March ending with the Rohan Originals weekend in Rohan Keswick 1st – 3rd April.  So please check back to catch up with their story.
Q. Al and Joy, before we launch into the history of the very first Rohan Franchise could you tell us  about your businesses before Rohan. I know you have a joint love of design and the great outdoors.

Joy and I were born in North Manchester but shortly after our marriage in Spring 1961 we moved to Langdale. I became gardener handyman at what is now the Langdale Timeshare and Joys first job was cleaner at a local school so although only earning about £12 between us this was the beginning of our life in the mountains and therefore we were as happy as can be.
By 1963 I had progressed to being an instructor at Brathay Hall which was a very progressive outdoor education centre near Ambleside. We ran four long week courses for 16 to 19 yr olds which mixed the usual outdoor activities of mountaineering and sailing with arts,crafts,drama and music. This contrasted with most other outdoor centres of the time which tended to treat the outdoors much more like a battleground where the idea was more of conquering the mountains rather than loving them.
This lifestyle continued until 1967 when we started to think it would be fun to try something ourselves. Both of us being from working class backgrounds we had no idea how we might do this but over the last few years Joy had worked as salesperson/secretary to Frank Davies at his famous climbing store in Ambleside and so we thought that retailing might be something to explore.
The general idea was alright but what could we sell and where could we do it from. We had about £200 which although that might be worth say £2000 at today’s money it was not going to go far in getting a shop, fitting it out, stocking it out then having some cashflow (a word that we had never heard of!). Even in those days the Lakes was expensive so that was out but Lancaster was close by and was full of interest with great buildings and a waterside with great potential plus they had just opened the University.
The choice of products to sell had to be picked from the two areas we knew something about.. outdoor equipment or interior design. Due to my training on a drawing board with our interest in architecture,product design and craft we thought we might manage a small shop with a small amount of stock but with a drawing area where I could try and offer an interior design service… hence was born’ DESIGN design’ in a rented shop in a back street in Lancaster at a grand cost of £2 per week.
1960 Alan prototype design outside first shop Design/design Lanacaster at midnight
How we survived the first twelve months we will never know but towards the end of that period although not selling an awful lot we had tied up the agencies for such great design brands of the 60s like Conran, Marimekko, David Mellor and Hille etc. Then unknown to us Fiona Macarthy wrote a very flattering article in The Guardian design section and people from far and wide came in and bought… we were on our way.

As the years went by we missed the Lakes and so in 1973 we moved our interests to Kendal and formed a business called AE Design sited in a large Georgian building on the side of the river Kent. This business grew very quick and during the 1970s we developed under the Waterside banner a whole series of sections covering areas we felt passionate about AE Design continued with a team of designers working projects side by side to a showroom displaying design classics such as Eames, Le Corbusier, Vico Magistretti etc. Another part of the building housed Waterside Wholefoods and Vegetarian Cafe which Joy developed.
1974 Queens Rd Kendal House won a Civic Trust and European Architectural Heitage Award 1975
Waterside Kendal late 70s Wholefood Shop and Cafe
The last ingredient was Waterside Adventure Sports specializing in lightweight travel, XC s Skiing and Backpacking equipment plus what would become Pete Bland Sports still the UK’s most important Fell running business. This was the time we first sold that magic stuff ROHAN!
Waterside Kendal spot the Rohan Jacket
This period during the 1970’s and into the early 1980’s were very exciting but by 1983 Joy and I really needed a break from the action, we had never started the business so it could take over our lives but that’s what was beginning to happen so we set about to break it up. My brother Brian stayed to run the design unit, Pete took the sports and Joy sold the Wholefoods. I took a few months sabbatical during which time I was offered the job as assistant to the Head of High Borrans Outdoor Education Centre in the hills above Windermere. I spent the next few years working with Eifion and we had a great time together but as time went on I found my head full of ideas of a new business venture… Rohan!
Next part of the Rohantime interview has just been published  – read the story Why Rohan?

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Rohan 25 Years in The Lake District


Rohan Originals Keswick Weekend ended on Sunday night.

The Evans family and all the Rohan team extend a big thank you to everybody who took part in the weekend celebration. It was the talk of the town. There was considerable interest in the Rohan Originals Collection now housed in Rohan Keswick.
Colin Fisher Chairman, Tim Jasper Brand Director and Sarah Howcroft Co Founder where all kept very busy over the weekend meeting old friends and new.
Ben Evans “The collection area for returned Rohan garments for reuse by local charities had to be emptied many times over the weekend. All of us have been amazed at the quality of the Rohan garments being returned for reuse. Some of them are over 30 years old and still have many years of life left in them. Many customers remarked it was a nice to know that their much loved Rohan garments would find new homes”.
Tim Jasper “It was great to meet up with so many long-standing and new Rohan customers over the Keswick Originals weekend. It was fantastic to be able to celebrate 25 years in the Lakes and many thanks to everyone who made the special journey to come.”
Sarah Howcroft “This is by far the most comprehensive archive of classic Rohan Garments in the world. The time taken to collect and display this collection is impressive. Congratulation to Ben Evans and his team for capturing the history of Rohan in such a meaningful way”.
Lets do it all again in another 25 years.

Photo Credits: Al, Joy & Ben Evans with Colin Fisher  – The Rohan Originals Weekend Keswick Team – the family Bambridge  from Cockermouth – the family Glendinning from West Yorkshire –  not forgetting Rohan Regional Manager Craig and Ben Evans both wearing the original 1980’s Rohan folding sunglasses .

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Outdoor Stars

Chris Brasher leading Roger Bannister during the famous first 4 min mile 1954

Chris Brasher leading Roger Bannister during the famous first 4 min mile

This is a short resume of the outdoor stars mentioned by Al in the series of interview Rohan a family affair first published on Rohantime 28/03/2011. A very big thank you to Al, Joy and Ben for sharing their family and business memories with us all on Rohantime.
Looking forward to the next 25 years with Rohan Keswick…

Chris Brasher

Chris ,who sadly passed away at the age of 74 in 2003,was famous in many areas.He was famous for his athletic accomplishments such as pacing Roger Bannister when he ran the 1st 4 min mile and then 2 years later going on to win a Gold medal at the Melbourne Olympic Games. During the 60’s he was an early competitor and organizer of orienteering in Britain. Finally 30yr ago, with his business partner and friend John Disley, he started the London marathon which has gone on to become the largest and most famous marathon in the world.He was a journalist and worked for the BBC and the Observer for many years. His regular article ‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ was well read by outdoor people. In business he formed the Sweatshop group of running shops, distributed Reebok equipment and, of course, formed The Brasher Boot Company a company that is going from strength to strength with it’ s latest project being the involvement, with Rohan, in their latest range of Rohan footwear. Although he spent much of his time in the public gaze he was never more happy than spending time on environmental projects including the work of the John Muir Trust or just getting out into wild places with a small group of like minded people.

Rob Collister

Rob happy after another hard great day on the hillA man of culture,a man of peace, a Renaissance man, all the good bits of Chariots of fire, arrow alpinist,and as fit as a butchers dog-a deliberately inappropriate metaphor for a conscientious vegetarian‘. So said John Barry in describing Rob during their expedition to Mt Deborah Alaska in 1983. Rob has been climbing for over 40years and during that time has visited most of the worlds mountain areas. For most of this time he has been a member of the International Mountain Guides Assoc. His main passion is travelling in wild areas in small groups very much in the tradition of Tilman. Very concerned about environmental issues Rob is involved with many societies including The John Muir Trust and The Wilderness Trust. A writer on these topics in magazines and books. His latest book is about his home turf Snowdonia–Park under Pressure. A friend of Rohan, Rob during the early 1990’s worked closely with Tim Jasper in the design and development of mountain clothing.

Stevie Haston

One of the worlds best all-round climbers Stevie started climbing at 12 and was still in his teens when he climbed the North Face of the Eiger. Now aged 53 and after 40years of climbing new routes throughout the world, on rock, ice and snow he still operates at the highest level. Always known for his amazing upper body strength recently he has been working his legs and has become fascinated with ultra distance mountain running and last September completed the Italian race ‘Tor des Geants‘ 321km including 24000m of uphill! Based in the Pyrenees and the Alps, Stevie is married to french climbing ace Laurence Gouault who is not only a superb climber but also an accomplished photographer
Photos: Extreme rock and ice climbing, Stevie Haston working hard on a new creation in the Alps
Read more from Stevie Haston

Hugh Symonds

Hugh Symonds in Terre del Fugo on day 183 of his and Paulines bike tour of South America which started July 2010 and is still ongoing

Maths teacher Hugh used all his experience of wilderness travel and world class running ability when, in 1990, he completed an amazing run, the continuous traverse on foot, including the distance between them, of all the 3000ft peaks of Britain. Having achieved this in the staggeringly short time of 83 days, when his target had been a 100, he decided to add the Irish tops to the list and still he finished in 97days, raising a considerable sum of money for Intermediate Technology along the way. His account of this epic in the book Running High is a classic and illustrates the focus and dedication required to complete long journeys in wilderness regions. Now, 20years on, Hugh and his wife Pauline still spend most of their spare time walking, running and cycling in wild areas.
Read more from Hugh and Pauline

Andy Peace

Andy Peace running for England

Andy Peace running for England

“My athletics really started by helping Bingley Harriers win the national junior xc team title in the late 80’s, I then moved onto the fells/mountains, regularly finishing in the top 3 in the English/British championship races. By the mid nineties I was racing the 3 peaks running race and cyclo x in the Yorkshire dales, over the years I managed to win a total of 6,3peaks races ( 4 running, 2 cycling ) being the first person to win both in the same year 95/96 and held the record for both events at the same time. I still hold the current record for the running race which has now stood for 14yrs @ 2hrs 46min 03secs. Over the years I won the Burnsall Classic 5 times, finished 9th in the world mountain running champs, in 2010 as a vet I finished 6th in the world long distance mountain running champs in Colorado (and was first British runner home). I also raced duathlon (run/bike/run) in between mountain races, winning the national title 5 times and finishing 9th in the world champs. I’m still running competitively on the fells and mountains at home and abroad and still enjoy the buzz of racing. Outside of running and cycling I work as a joiner”. Andy Peace
Contact Andy and Bess

and not forgetting Bess

Andy and Bess

“I started running when I was a bit young, but I loved it and my Dad always took me, even if at times he was a bit serious and would shout at me when I stopped to smell things.  The Mum joined us, and well, her pace is better for me and she plays when we run, and helps me over styles.  Unfortunately I have had some shoulder problems which means I do not do much running now, just the occasional ones with my Mum, where I like to stop and play in the river on the way back.  My favourite type of run is efforts, particularly up a hill, but apparently I cheat and always start too soon before everyone is ready.  I have also branched out to enjoy other sporting disciplines (although I have yet to master riding a bike) and enjoy walking in the hills , but again do object to being pulled or pushed up steep rock faces, it is not good for dignity.  Now in the evenings I get a bit stiff and when wanting to jump onto the bed have to take a good minute warming up, in fact last night for the first time ever I fell off in the process and had to be rescued by Dad from the laundry basket”….. Bess

Sarah Rowell

Sarah (no 2508) leading the peloton with past world record holders Grete Waitz and Ingrid Kristiansen tucked in behind.

Sarah (no 2508) leading the peloton with past world record holders Grete Waitz and Ingrid Kristiansen tucked in behind.

By day I earn a living working as what can best be described as a performance consultant in elite sport, working with many of the Olympic and Paralympic governing bodies. My passion for this comes from my own interest and endeavours – after playing hockey seriously as a junior I entered and ran the 2nd London marathon for fun, finding I was quite good at the long stuff and ending up with a pb of 2.28.06, running in the 1984 Olympic Games and setting a British record. Injury problems moved me off road where I had five top 9 finishes in the world mountain running championships including a best of 2nd, won the Seven Sisters (now Beachy Head) marathon outright in 1986 (in a time only beaten by 2 men since) won the British and English fell running championship double twice as well as many other classic fell races. More recently I have completed in mountain marathons and ultra distance events and taken to the bike as injuries strike with increased frequency, plus am trying to make up time lost from skiing climbinand and scrambling. In writing the book Off Road Running. I hoped to share some of my passion and knowledge with others to enable them to get as much enjoyment as I have from sport. The same reason why I am chair of the UKA mountain running group, who support and select the international mountain running teams. Sarah Rowell.

Andy Hislop

Andy Hyslop in a rare moment of relaxation

Andy Hyslop in a rare moment of relaxation

“The couple of years I spent training with Al in the Ambleside area had a big influence on my approach to being in the mountains and enjoying them on a daily basis. If I’m ever struggling to find the motivation to get out the door it helps to think of what Al might be doing now – he’s already out there!”
Andy Hyslop read Andy’s thoughts on climbing, running, cycling, business and environmental issues.

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Celebrating 25 and 50 at 70+

Attempt on the 63 Lakeland Peak Record 1973 A. Heaton and A. Evans coming into the Lairthwaite Road check point Keswick
It has been a great privilege to record for Rohantime the story of the First Rohan Franchise with Al Joy and Ben Evans.
This is the final part of the interview and covers Al and Joys outdoor life. I did managed to get some tips from them on how they have sustained their love of the outdoors over so many years. In all four installments of Rohan a family affair Al and Joy have mentioned people that it’s been a pleasure to call friends and partners in their various adventures. I have also included a short resume of some the people mentioned. It reads a bit like a who’s who of the outdoor world but then again with Al’s dedication to mountain sports over so many years it is not surprising.
Al and Joy: Your love of the outdoors is well known tell us how it started.
From an early age I would go out rambling with my parents and brother. We had no car or special equipment but each Sunday we would take a bus into the hills behind Rochdale and Oldham. We would be dressed in our ordinary clothes with sandwiches and flask in a shopping bag. I enjoyed these trips so much that by the time I was twelve I was escaping to the hills, either by myself or a few mates from school and so started my walking and mountaineering. At about the same time I joined Middleton Harriers and started cross country running which was to lead to fell running. Not many years later starting with walk and runs such as the 50mile Four Inns in the Peak. In 1955, on my 15th birthday, I started work and to save money I got a bike and started to cycle there and back. This took two to three hours a day, so I soon built up fair amount of endurance plus a love of cycling that’s lasted to this day. Therefore without knowing it by mixing walking,running and cycling I was taking part what we now call cross training which is the method I’ve used ever since. Shortly after all this I met Joy and one by one she picked up all these activities and also has continued with them to this day.
Q. Al and Joy: How do you maintain your fitness at seventy plus.

The answer to this question is not a lot different to the one about business success.
You need PASSION. If you do not enjoy what you are doing you have no chance.
Past EXPERIENCE is very useful. You learn to listen to your body and therefore have a good idea how hard you can push yourself.
AIMS. We plan ahead and pick out major projects for the year. These could be races or tours that you fancy. Once these are listed you can focus on arriving at these dates fit and motivated.
CONSISTENCY. Being steady is much better than blasting away and finding that after a few weeks your running into injuries or lack of motivation. Everybody is different, some manage on a small amount of training but I enjoy the activities so much that I find myself hardly missing a day and averaging between 12 to 18 hours a week. This is what is called over training but it’s fun and a habit so I don’t see me changing any time soon.
Pete Bland and Al. finishing 3rd or 4th in the Saunders 2 day mountain marathon over 30years ago
Al and Joy: Did work stop you both from doing outdoor stuff?
As I’ve said the above training ideas are ones I’ve followed throughout my life and even when I was very busy in business I still found time to cycle to work then at lunch it was out with the Kendal lads such as Pete Bland and Mike Walford for a run over the Scar. We all felt that it was so important not only for fitness and health but also great at helping to cope with the stress and pressure of our working lives.
Al and Joy: Could you share with us some high spots of your outdoor experiences
When you have spent as much time doing adventure sports as we have you find it’s not just the good race results that matter but often it’s a simple small happening like a sun set or a great view that makes the day. In fact even though we have over 50 years experience in the outdoor world we are not in any way stars. We have been lucky to operate with many people we would call stars. It would take too long to list them all but Rob Collister mountain guide and one time Rohan tester, Sarah Rowell and Andy Peace both world class mountain runners and Hugh Symonds the first person to make the continuous traverse of all 303 three thousand foot mountains of Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland, are just a few of the interesting people that it’s been a pleasure to call friends and partners in various adventures.
 Three Peaks Cycle Cross winning over 40's 1971
The high spots in events have been many but at my age, when time is very important, I tend to look forward to the next challenge except perhaps for a quick look back at what was the last time I got it right. For me that was at the end of September when I completed for about the 10th time, the Yorkshire Three Peaks Cyclo Cross Race and won the over 70s (don’t laugh it’s a very competitive category and I won a hundred quid!) Mind you I was not as fast as about 35 years ago when I finished forth overall but still a great day out.
Three Peaks Cycle Cross winning over 70's 2010
Al and Joy: You have observed the development of our outdoor playgrounds, are they fast becoming saturated?
It’s true that many parts of our National Parks and other wild areas are getting very heavy use and therefore in those areas we have a very serious problem. When you have this amount of people you have not only erosion but it takes away the wilderness experience. On the other hand when you see the problems with obeseness and lack of basic fitness in all first world countries it’s hard to suggest that less people should be out there. What we need to do is to encourage people to upgrade their skills so that they can cope with venturing out away from the honey pot areas into more isolated ones. For Joy and myself this is not a new problem we moved to the Lakes in 1961 and were told by people that we had arrived too late because the place was overran but then again Wordsworth was saying much the same well over 150 years ago. For many years we have lived not far from Chamonix at the foot of Mt Blanc and this area suffers exactly the same problems and yet we walk most days and even at the very busy times we can be totally alone.
Joy top Pigne d'Arolla 3796m looking east towards the Matterhorn
Q. Al and Joy: Relationships 25/50yrs! Does it get any easier?
As you say this year is going to be a bit of a milestone. Rohan in the Lakes celebrates it’s 25th year and we celebrate 50 years of marriage and in answer to your question “YES” it does get easier. In your 70’s it might be harder to get out of bed but once you are up and about life’s a bit of a dream. During your working life the days might have been very exciting but looking back they were also very intense times with a fair amount of stress where as now once we have staggered out of bed and wander 100 metres to our local bar then sit and watch the sun rise over Mt. Blanc whilst drinking coffee and eating a croissant or two, the biggest problem of the day is thinking about what little adventure you might get up to later.

“I think that basically what I’ve been trying to say throughout is that we feel that life is happiest if you try for a balance between your family life,your business life and what we call our personal interests. You never get it just right but it’s worth a good try”. Al and Joy Evans.

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Why Rohan?

The first Rohan Ambleside next to Zeffirellis

Welcome to the second part of Rohan a family affair.

Al and Joy talk about how the first Rohan Franchise started and have shared with us some tips on running a successful family business through good times and bad. Very topical!

Always expect the unexpected

Q. Al and Joy: That brings us to Rohan. So over to you how did it all start? Why a franchise?
Over 30 years ago, whilst still running a conventional outdoor shop, I started to think that a franchise business might be a very interesting concept.
At that time there were not many examples to look at but I felt the idea was worth examining. I thought that in it’s favour was the following.
The most important advantage was that a franchise with one manufacturer would help the customer, both potential or existing, to understand what you are about even before entering the shop. Take Rohan as an example, because you are not cluttering the shop up with a thousand and one items you can present your stock in a clear and attractive way so that although that image etc. will not appeal to everyone many will find the shop easy and enjoyable to use. The next point was that by only stocking one brand you are able to stock in far greater depth than you would if you dealt with a mass of other brands. One other point, administration has to be easier both in paper work and also in the normal face to face dealings with suppliers is cut down to one company. The only real major problem I saw was that you would be putting all your eggs in one basket and if you did not find the right company you could have difficulty with things like delivery, quality of stock,finance, etc and anyone of these could take you down.
Why Rohan?
Once I had firmed up on the idea of trying to get a franchise the next step was to search for a company in the outdoor world that had the potential to fulfil their side of the bargain .We knew most brands, some big, some small, some in the UK and some elsewhere, so shifting through all these took quite sometime. Then I came to Rohan. We had sold Rohan and used lots of the products since about 1978 and although compared to some set-ups the company was fairly small with only a limited range, what they had stood out a mile because of it’s design, innovation and quality. For example over a number of years I’d used Rohan Salopettes for ice climbing and ski touring and even my French climbing friends thought they were a pretty amazing bit of kit. Ice climbing is very tough on clothing but these things were not only incredibly functional and comfortable in all conditions you just could not wear them out!
Paul and Sarah Howcroft were not only very clever people but also incredibly passionate about what they were doing. Another strong point in their favour for me was that they were looked upon by a lot in the trade as odd ball and eccentric and I just love people who are prepared to have a go at doing things in a new way. I well remembered going to the annual Harrogate Outdoor Trade Show where 99% of the stands were set out in the conventional way of being wide open, loads of lights, dolly birds plus food and drink whilst somewhere in the middle of one of the halls was a big black box with a discrete Rohan sign and you had to give the door a knock in the hope that Paul or Sarah would allow you in to have a look at their latest designs…wonderful stuff.

The first Rohan Shop in The Lakes in Windermere a few doors from Daryl's Cafe

The first Rohan Shop in the Lakes in Windermere a few doors from Daryl’s Cafe

The day after thinking about Rohan I rang Paul and nervously popped the question to him.”would he be prepared to offer us the franchise for the Lake District“. Paul answered by explaining that at that very moment he was sat with his property chap asking him to get up to The Lakes and find a site … but, even though they had never franchised before he would be very happy for Joy and myself to give it a go. We very quickly bought a site in Windermere and got cracking fitting it out. It’s a testament to how business can be done that the four of us went ahead with no written agreement just the mutual trust and belief that between us we would make a success of ROHAN in LAKELAND.
Q.Al and Joy: Any businesses that has traded successfully for 25 years has a successful formula. Give us a few tips.
I believe you require a fair amount of the following for a business to work.
Al  - Chuffed after finding this 1932 Alto chair basement Ambleside 1992Passion – We have only ever been involved with products we believe in and have passion for and Rohan fits 100% for us.
Past Experience – We have been involved in a fair number of businesses and therefore have seen many ups and downs but as in life you have to keep plugging away. Remember what Samual Becket said “Try again, fail again but fail better”.
Aims – You must have aims. From mountaineering I’ve learnt that you must follow the three rules of navigation. Know where you are – Know where you are going  – Work out how you are going to get there.
Product – You have to have a good product and you have to understand what it can do for your customers.
Good Relationships – You have to work hard at having good relationships with all the people you come into contact with, suppliers, our own team, your co-directors and of course your customers.
Location – Keswick is one of the best locations for promoting Rohan and we are sited in the best street there.
Management – As you can see from the above list what we do is not complicated. Operating a shop is not brain surgery but you do need to keep focused because it’s still possible to make a mess.
The first Rohan Keswick Shop 1988-2003
Q.Al and Joy: Could you share with us some high and lows of the business
High and Lows – Oh dear like most business people I could go on for ever. No business stands still, it either goes up or it’s going down and so highs and lows are part of your life.
Highs can be due to little things like a customer telling you that the shop has given great service but equally and thankfully only occasionally you might get the other side of the story and you feel very low if a customer is unhappy about the way you operated. We have always been on an high when we have found ways to expand the business. We are not money driven people but we do enjoy having to expand the size of the shop or move premises because we feel it shows that your products are in demand and you are not standing still.
Lows have included the various credit crunches which have seemed to have happened once every 10 years. These give you a few stressful years ,then,if you include the sad times like the foot and mouth disasters then the two serious floods that Cumbria has experienced during the last 5 years you begin to wonder if there have ever been any highs but the truth is that luckily the lows sink away in to the back of your mind and its the highs that stay with you.
The most savage low that we ever had was the period after Sarah and Paul sold Rohan to Clarks and I must say we did not enjoy the experience. It seemed to us that Clarks did not fully grasp what the Rohan brand stood for and during their ownership Rohan struggled to move in the right direction. The final nail in the coffin for us was just before Clarks themselves sold Rohan on and were trying to maximize the value of Rohan and we were trying to move the Ambleside store from Compston Rd. to the present site. We knew that it would make a fabulous site for Rohan but unfortunately for us so did Clarks and they maneuvered us out of the deal and left us high and dry. Their was nothing that we could do but put all our energies into Rohan in Keswick. Happily for us, Clarks went to pastures new and the new owners worked hard with us to build the great relationship we enjoy today. Nevertheless it’s a good job our company motto is “always expect the unexpected“.
Rohan Keswick 14-16 Lake Road, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5BX.
Read more about Rohan Franchise Opportunities