It’s the end of the year and so it’s the usual mad dash to complete everything you aimed to do… like decorating the house. As a result the hardware store has become my saving grace.
The local DIY shop on the Isle of Wight is an amazing place, it’s almost like a time machine that shoots you back into the 1950’s. Your experience always starts with a lovely chap at the door that’s role is there to welcome you into this store which is crammed full of things you never knew you needed. With 5 experienced gentlemen dressed in blue overcoats, the years of their service demonstrated by the degree of fadedness and number of honorary badges. This place is like Mary Poppins’ hand bag. There is no need to rummage, whilst they will gratefully entertain your dog, the other will shoot up a ladder to dig out multiple shapes and sizes of items you scarcely dreamed of finding.
Founded in 1859 by Charles Wheeler, then in 1891 William Hurst joined the company which is when the present name was adopted. It concentrated on agricultural implement manufacture, servicing and repairing for the Island’s booming farming industry. This all changed dramatically as the face of farming changed and the Island herds dwindled. It gradually expanded into lighting, china and glass during the 1980’s and 1990’s.
With 5 stores and 100 employees there is not many organisation’s throughout the UK that can now boast of having employees that stay from school leaving age through to retirement.
With the governments focus on re-establishing communities and social responsibility, organisations could learn a lot from this company in supporting this cultural shift which we seem to have drifted away from.
One of the few places left where you can purchase the one screw you need rather than the multi pack of one hundred, Hursts is one of the many treasures of the Isle of Wight, it’s definitely where Mary Poppins buys her tool kit from.