personal service and trustworthiness are not the only cornerstones of
success. As soon as Sutton
Coldfield test began, so did Young's personal monitoring
service. Though 77 miles away, signal strengths were surprisingly
high and on the opening day of the afternoon test transmissions Young's
gave the first public demonstration of Television in Abergavenny.
crowds surrounded his showroom and results speak for themselves. By
the time of Sutton Coldfield's official opening he had installed over
ninety receivers in the area. Even to-day with Wenvoe on the air,
Sutton Coldfield is used two-thirds of the time. Though but 17 miles
away, 3 micro volts is all that can be received from Wenvoe on many
installations. Such is the difficulty of the terrain, signal
strength varies by as much as 100 micro volts in similar aerials placed on
two different chimney stacks on the same house. "Wenvoe has
been a great disappointment to us" he told me, and I found this view
shared by all the other dealers to whom I spoke in this part of the world.
in Young's are rock steady, but only because of his resourcefulness.
25 micro volts is all he receives from Wenvoe on an aerial over his own
shop and so his installation is 100 yards higher up the hill on a friendly
hotel's roof and a low loss cable strings its way across the chimney pots
of all the intervening shop-keepers. They too have been fired by Mr.
Young's enthusiasm into a state of active co-operation with his
An extensive advertiser, 4in. and 6in.
double column spaces in the local press tell Abergavenny's inhabitants of
Mr. Young's activities, not the least of which was the organisation of a
local radio exhibition soon after the opening of Sutton Coldfield.
The three other dealers in the town, all of whom are situated within 80
yards of Young's, co-operated. Television demonstrations were
naturally the main attraction, but the value of audience participation is
appreciated by Mr. Young and a simple microphone- cathode ray oscillograph
installation with a banner "See your own voice" over it proved
nearly as big an attraction as the TV and did its bit towards enhancing
his technical reputation in the town.
Claytoon by Ashcroft
A believer in the motto "If you want a thing done well, do it
yourself," Mr. Young does all his own service and despite the
interruptions of customers, travellers, etc. deals with over 1,000 repairs
a year. Always alert and inquisitive technically, the time he spent
as a radar teacher in the RAF was as useful to him as his pupils. In
his six years' absence his wife, Phyllis, kept the business alive.
TV Made Specialisation Pay
With Murphy, KB and Bush as his main agencies, Mr. Young is now in larger
and better situated premises at 1 High Street and his last words to me
carry a really important message "Specialisation took a long time to
pay me, but with the coming of television I'm really feeling the
benefit. It's ironed out the quiet seasons and brought me the little
extras that are always floating about."
He has not as yet tried all-in maintenance
and has adopted instead a club scheme. Customers have a book in
which they can stick 2s. 6d. or 5s. vouchers as and when they like.
There is no compulsion as to how and when they spend these vouchers, which
Mr. Young cuts out of their books at the time of the sale or service
charge. Conditions are simple, both for Mr. Young and the customer, to
whom it is made clear, both by word and in the book, that money can only
be refunded if the customer leaves the district. By this scheme,
book-keeping is reduced to a minimum, the customer has no feeling of money
down the drain if his set is trouble-free, and the cash is there if and
when a tube breaks down.
In Newport 16 miles away, competition is naturally keener. The main
shopping area begins in Commercial Street, continues in High Street, and
tails off in Clarence Place across the river.
Smack in the centre of the busiest part is
J. & M. Stone's showroom in which I found manager Peter Reid, with his
coat off busily assisting in the re-arrangement of one of the best
displays of electric appliances I have ever seen in a Stone's
branch. Mr. Reid has an enthusiasm for selling that one often finds
in Londoners and claims, with obvious truth, that it is his only
hobby. He has plenty of chances of practising it, for, such are the
difficulties of the terrain, every television sales means a home
demonstration, both to satisfy the customer that both that it is really
possible to obtain a picture in his home and to find out whether it is
going to make its way there via Sutton Coldfield or Wenvoe.
Though only 12 miles from the Welsh transmitter,
over half the installations are lined up on the Midland station.
Steady Call for HP
Whichever it turns out to be, Mr. Reid finds the door rod type of aerial
useless and in 7 cases out of every 10 a full H installation is
necessary. The average price for this is ?9, which is an
appreciable percentage of the ?65 to ?70 the average customer spends on
the receiver alone and is one of the reason for Mr. Reid's steady hire
purchase figures. An enthusiastic believer in all-in maintenance, he
is selling contracts to over 90 per cent of all buyers of television and
radiograms. Strangely the demand for long-playing facilities is not
noticeably effecting his radiogram sales and just under half the sales are
still 78 rpm only models.
The falling off in the sale of irons is as
true here as anywhere but, strangely, kettles had suddenly come into their
own and the week before my call had been one of the busiest for several
years. Dry shavers are a different proposition and make good an
appreciable proportion of the seasonable drop in sales of TV and
radio. This appears to be a worthwhile theme for specialised window
displays. Mr. Reid sets great store by window display and position.
"We do no advertising" he told me "and believe that our
front-rank positions and excellent and comprehensive stocks are our best
That Wenvoe is having a good effect is
undeniable, for despite last year's pre-budget rush, Mr. Reid's turnover
is staying up, even now the first rush to buy has steadied.
Power of Record Programmes
In the opinion of John Woods, manager of the Curry's branch at 54
Commercial Street, 400 yards further on, its opening is also having its
effects in other directions. "It has stimulated interest in home
entertainment all round. Sales of television, radio and radiograms
are all up. Especially radiograms, and for that we have to thank
programmes such as Housewife's Choice. Women hear records they
like and decide they must have something on which they can play them themselves.
So they buy a radiogram. Remember, the Welsh are a musical race and
are never happier than when listening to music," he told me.
His views about records also seem sound,
for A. & E. Henry and Co. Ltd., the only near competitor to Curry's
and Stone's, were showing a wonderful range which, from the condition of
the holders is constantly changing, but the rate of stock turn is another