Gatley Electrical Store Owners to Retire Ending Nearly Sixty Years as Part of the Community


When Edgar Hewitt started his electrical repair service from a lock-up in the village, he can’t have imagined that it would end up as a chain of shops from Macclesfield to Oldham being part of a thriving family business.
Repairing products during the day and delivering new ones in the evenings Mr Hewitt quickly built a successful business and soon moved to bigger premises on Gatley Road.
One of the first to take on Sony when they came to the UK Hewitts became their premier dealer in Manchester and when Alan and Barry (Mr & Mrs Hewitts sons) joined the business it expanded initially into Macclesfield and Stockport.
Paul Hopkin – Mr Hewitt’s son-in-law – became involved in the business in 1985, leaving a career in teaching to further build the business.
He has run the business  for the last twenty five years after Mr Hewitt’s well earned retirement with the help of his wife Janette (Mr Hewitt’s daughter)
Originally selling only television, hi-fi and recording equipment, Paul was instrumental in the company expanding to a stock a full range of electrical goods, by joining the Combined Independent Holdings (CIH) buying group and went on to become one of the company’s longest serving directors and  one of the founding directors of Euronics.
Hewitts has earned an enviable reputation for providing expertise not just in the supply but also installation of all of its products  including built in appliances and wall-hanging televisions.
It’s a reputation which has helped them to survive in an increasingly competitive market dominated by big players such as Comet ad Curry’s – and latterly John Lewis – as well as with the online market,.
As Paul explains:
“We’ve survived by specialising – with Sony, and also being part of the CIH buying group which has helped keep the business going.”
“The Internet has not been our biggest problem, neither has the likes of Currys or Comet when they were around, we’ve always been able to compete with them.”
“When John Lewis opened however we did start to lose customers to them. This was almost by default as our customer base  is very much the same as John Lewis and whilst people were in looking at other things or having lunch they visited the electrical department and ended up buying without even thinking of Hewitts.”
“That has started to change over the last few years and we have seen a lot of customers come back to us from John Lewis . They are looking  for the extra product knowledge that we have and the quality of our service.”
“We have always been competitive and give the same guarantees so why not go for a more personal buying experience.  This follows through to installation where John and Steve will always go the extra mile to get it right.”
“Customers on buying something will often ask if it is John or Steve coming to install it as they have so much confidence in them.”
It is with out doubt that over the years it is customer loyalty that has kept Hewitts going with a hard core of people who would think of going nowhere else
“Our customers have been fantastic” Paul enthused. “We’ve had customers for forty or fifty years from all over and some fantastic Gatley customers. We’ve become part of the social fabric of Gatley”
“I’ve had customers who I’ve known for years who will come in just to talk to us”.
It’s an affinity that has grown out of Hewitts’ ability to provide an ‘all round customer experience’.
“If someone wants to come in there’s no pressure on them, they can buy a product at a competitive price and have it installed professionally. We’ve grown our skills over the years, we haven’t stood still.” He said.
What happens to the store after they close isn’t known, but a buyer is in place and it is understood is it is a business that very much has Gatley close to its heart – which was an important part of the sale for the company.
On top
One thing is for certain, when Hewitts does finally shut its doors for the final time, it will be going out on top.
This certainly isn’t a ‘closing down’ in the sense that it is being forced out of the market place in the face of stiff competition, but much more a matter of bowing out gracefully having been a market leader and more than stood its ground.
Until the end of August however they will still be trading and will still give advice on the right product and  install it if that is what the customer wants.
With all the display stock to go there will be bargains to be had so now is the time to call in if you need something – before they close for good.