Trophy Blog #59 – From a newspaper column printed earlier in the year ~ Following on from the story on page three of last weeks Selby Times & Post, I fully agree with Richard Schofield, owner of Gowthorpe shop Heaven & Home had to say. We need to be attracting people into Selby, not forcing them away. Currently the fines are collected by Harrogate Council. Why? they won the tender, but why did we even put it out for tender?? If it costs a bit more to give the contract to a local company, then support these local businesses. If the money collected from the fines was known to be going back into Selby town centre, then maybe people would look at in a more positive way, they might even respect it more and stop parking where they shouldn’t. We should be collecting our own money and using it to finance an hours free parking on a quiet Monday Market day or bring back the free Saturday afternoon offer. Like Richard, I also regularly speak to my customers who visit our office and showroom. Normally the first thing they say to me before they have even looked at a Trophy is about parking issues. In the last fortnight I have been parking my own car in the old council car park while the roadworks have been on. On two occasions different people have asked me about the silly card machine it has. Both of these cases resulted in them driving away even after I offered help. This machine needs replacing with a coin option to pay straight away. Why has Tadcaster got free parking when Selby hasn’t? Could we put on our own version of a Park and Ride system? Have a bus leaving the huge car park at the cattle market on the business park every twenty minutes and people pay a quid each way to save them looking for a space.
– Trophy Blog #58 – From my newspaper column – Over the last few weeks I have been involved in various discussions via the facebook group ‘SOS Selby’ about the state and attractiveness of our shops and businesses in the town centre. One positive highlight is the new Home Bargains superstore has now opened. A lot of jobs have been created and effort has been put into tidying up the surrounding car park. Recent reports in the Selby Times & Post, show that it attracted many people on it’s opening weekend. Closer to the town centre we had the sad news about two shops closing down. Hopefully, the Good 2 Go shop will be sold ‘as is’ and reopen as a similar style takeaway / sandwich shop – which is great news for my healthy lunches! Also, the word on the street is the Select clothes shop is hopefully being helped into relocating somewhere else. We are very lucky that we have only a few empty shops compared to other town centres in the country. We only have five or six prime located shops sat ready on Gowthorpe for the next business owner to move into. My idea is for the ‘powers that be’ to use a tiny part of the £9 MILLION leisure centre budget, to tidy up the sad looking shops. If you was moving house, you’d give it a lick of paint to attract future owners, so why not do it to the shops? If the landlords and owners do not want to play ball then perhaps the council could make it happen. The section that fined the Anchor Inn land owners for not doing anything to the eyesore near Burn, could be tasked with tidying up the high street. Shops could be spruced up, and be ready for people such as Select to move straight into in time for Peak trading at Christmas.
Trophy Blog #57 – In last weeks ‘Trading Up’ column I briefly mentioned about online shopping. As I mentioned, we try and cater for every customer. If somebody wants to give me their money, I will try my hardest to make it easy for them. Some like to come into the showroom, sit down in our comfy chairs, and take hours looking at each item within their required budget. Others turn up with a figure in mind, and as long as my quote is with in that calculation, then it is ‘job done’ all within 5 minutes. Online Shopping is one of our main focuses at the moment. I have spent many hours recently photographing and loading more products onto our online ebay site. Within a few minutes a chap from Swansea was on the phone to purchase two historic shields. We agreed a price, he paid by PayPal, and the courier arrived that morning to collect them. Since we opened for business in 2011, we have had over 1000 online customers. We send our products all over the world and many of them are the all important ‘repeat customers’. We even have two American customers who have a trophy collection and regularly email asking for the latest item we have. The main appeal to business owners is our massive increase in audience from the local footfall. Online shopping opens up millions of potential customers. Some shoppers aren’t that bothered any more if their item comes from Brayton or Brisbane. After a long days work, it is so easy to be sat on the sofa, glass of wine in hand and click a few buttons and 3 days later open the front door. The postman has your item for you and you haven’t even left the house.
  Trophy Blog #56 ~ The importance of speaking one to one with your customers is starting to become a vital tool again. In recent years we have seen the massive increase of email and social media to communicate between people we want to sell to. It has created a world where customers have so much to choose from, which on one hand is a good thing for those wanting to save a few quid or require an exact requirement. With a few clicks of a button while sat on your sofa, your goods or services can be on your doorstep the very next day. As a company that moves with the times, I can provide this service if that’s what the customer wants. We send our items all over the world via our online eBay shop. The only thing missing from online sales is a professional customer service experience. I’m writing this column while sat in a car park waiting to meet a new client. (I arrived slightly early!) We started off with a few emails back and forth, but to take it to the all inportant ‘sales stage’, I decided the best way to move forward was to actually be sat in the same room with them. Having my products sat on the table in front of us will add to the positiveness. People are starting to want this personal approach to buying something. They want that extra special service again. How many times do you ring up a Helpline and they are based overseas or you have to talk to a computer? What if something has gone wrong? Who do you turn to?
Trophy Blog #55 ~ I write this column having spent the day at the York Railway Museum attending a S.E.O. (Search Engine Optimization) workshop and training course. In today’s fast pace of life, business owners need to try and be one step ahead of the competition. In the past, customers dug out the old yellow pages, thumbed the pages and used the land line phone to make contact with the owner of the shop. Now you can get your smart phone out of your pocket, type in a few words and have hundreds of options in the palm of your hand within a few seconds. The European Union has provided millions of pounds and backed the Super fast broadband roll out across North Yorkshire. Business owners are able to get free advice, training and guidance via one to one meetings and also choose from the many workshops on offer. Having sat in many ‘meetings about meetings’ in my past career (trying to keep awake by counting roof tiles) this was one of the best courses I’ve attended. It catered for all levels of experience with some people only having a basic single page website, while others had gone racing off doing hundreds of things to make it onto the magical page one of a google search. In previous weeks Google have moved the goalposts slightly to favour the ‘searcher’ rather than the company trying everything and anything to be better than his or her rival. In 2014, even more changes are due to find the correct answer to the question put into the search bar.
Trophy Blog #54 – Recently we heard the news that the new Star Wars movie will be filmed in the UK, while it is great news for new jobs, it is doubtful that we will see Darth Vader or Samuel L Jackson running down Gowthorpe at 5am filming an action scene. It got me thinking about the new generation of school leavers. I’m sure most of them have dreamed about making movies, and with the end of the school year coming up, local retailers and business owners will no doubt notice the increase in CV’s and application forms arriving. Before I set up my Trophy business I worked as a duty manager for Argos, It was my job to collect, read and process every CV that was handed into the store. Before the stores peak trading at Christmas we had hundreds handed in. Some CV’s were too good to be true, while others didn’t include the basics such as the persons date of birth or contact telephone number. We have a soon to be 16 year old lad in our household, and myself and his family have been helping him with application forms, advice and who to speak to. Luckily since I was at school, CV writing has been included in the curriculum, having read hundred’s of others in the past, his was very good. He wants to be an engineer, but the problem at his age is that he hasn’t done much other than being at school, so fingers crossed he will get some good news soon. I will include some handy CV tips and pointers in next weeks column.
Trophy Blog #53 ~ Here is another of my ‘Big 10 Q&A’s’ from my newspaper column printed earlier in the year. Name: Steve Whitehead ~ Company:The Griffin Pub ~ Position: Manager ~ No. of people working at your company: 15 1, One way Selby can be improved easily or cheaply? lower business rates to a greater variety of shops into town ~ 2, If I gave you £100, how would you spend it within your company? Take my staff out on a team building exercise ~ 3, If I gave you £1 million to improve Selby, How would you spend it? invest in something for teenagers to do ~ 4, Selby’s main tourist attraction? Selby Abbey ~ 5, One reason for a shopper to visit Selby? can’t think of one especially now the market stall holders have to put their own stalls up, so shoppers don’t bother coming if weathers bad. ~ 6, How many hours do you work each week? 50 average ~ 7, One reason to be proud of Selby? it’s a welcoming place with lots of untapped potential ~ 8, One thing you would change about Selby? the people who make decisions about selby’s future ~ 9, Will you still be trading in Selby in 5 years time? hopefully ~ 10, Best way to unwind locally? 10 go for a walk around Selby horse shoe then go to your local for a nice cold beer
Trophy Blog #52 ~ This time of year people are planning their big Christmas day. With lots of planning to do, we start to scribble on bits of paper for who needs what present. We also look at the logistics of getting that present to the correct household in time for the big day. It is that time of the year when family and friends travel into the area from all over the world to meet up and catch up on the years events. Selby needs to have a big ‘welcome’ sign as footfall increases in the town centre. I regularly see people walking around the town centre looking in all the shop windows and building a picture of somebody opening up the carefully wrapped gift. With so many offers and bargains to be had, it is hard to take it all in. Selby has a superb number of gift and craft shops – you just have to look for them. Businesses such as ourselves supply and engrave various silver and Crystal gifts, while places such as Heaven and Home, Mollies Cheese Shop & Herbert Browns have all sorts of other gift ideas. Why not spend a day shopping locally, support small businesses! If you look hard enough you will be surprised how many ‘ticks’ can be put next to your list after a few hours in Selby. Yes, it will take a bit longer then clicking on the basket on your laptop, but we need all the help we can get these days. When you shop locally, you can talk to a real human being who has years of experience and has many suggestions for you to consider.
Trophy Blog #51 – Everyone at LRB Trophies has been busy preparing and engraving the awards that are to be given out at tonights Selby and Goole Community Pride presentation night. We even had a last minute extra award to engrave as a joint winner was voted for. We are very proud to be involved again and we send our congratulations to all the winners (no names yet, hence the business cards in the photo!) I am delighted to see all the businesses, councils, politicians, and education establishments working together to provide funding and sponsorship to make the event go ahead. Drax Power Station is one of the biggest employers in the area, so to have them on board is superb. They do a lot of work in the community and also have future proofed future employment at the power station with the Biomass change over projects. Big businesses now have a massive CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) presence in their local areas and without this, things don’t get done as quick as public or government funded projects. CSR donations or grants can be provided for almost any project these days. If you run a charity or club, do some research and see what can be provided, not just from Drax, we have all sorts of businesses based within 30 miles of Selby. Remember, If you don’t ask, you don’t get. I hope everyone enjoys themselves tonight, and I’m sure some heart breaking stories will be told. People who give up their time or put in that extra mile to achieve something really need to have their special moment in the limelight.
Customer Review: ~ Many thanks to LRB Trophies for their excellent service. They turned around trophies and medals in just over a week and went above and beyond by delivering them to the prize-giving dinner venue. We’ll definitely be back next year. ~ Peter Milner – Selby Cycling Club