FROM A market stall to an internet store, a popular Uppermill shop has certainly changed with the times over its 35 years of business.
Martyn Rafferty began flogging his wares – with everything from bedding, towels to pillows and cushions – on the village market in 1981 when he was just 21 years old.
Thirteen years later, he opened the doors of his store ‘Rip Van Winkle’ at 109 High Street and has offered an expanding range to loyal and new customers over the decades.
Now he boasts a busy shop stocked from floor to ceiling with bedding, towels, throws and blankets, cloths and tea-towels, pillows, cushions and even dressing gowns.
Martyn, 56, explained: “I sold on the markets for 13 years but they were struggling a bit even then so I decided to open the shop. I’ve got a great spot and I’ve been here ever since.
“I put everything online as well for eight years and that was going really well. But then everyone started doing it and that makes it harder to compete on prices.
“A lot of people buy online these days but usually I can beat those prices in the shop. I have no Ebay, Amazon, or PayPal charges, and also no packaging and postage charges.
“It might look a bit like a warehouse in here – but we have great quality stock at warehouse prices. Just go online and compare to products on Ebay and you’ll see the difference.”
To celebrate his landmark 35 years in business, Springhead-based Martyn is holding a big towel sale, with high quality towels reduced from £7.99 to £3.99.
He also has a special offer on a range of Catherine Landsfield towels, with handtowels for just £1.50, bath towels for £3 and bathsheets for £5.
There are more discounts on Catherine Lansfield Chantilly lace edged duvet sets of all sizes, as well as reductions on Kew Gardens 100% cotton bedding and curtains.
Martyn added: “You don’t have to look far to find high quality products for reasonable prices. I just hope people keep looking here and we can carry on for another 35 years!”
Visit Rip Van Winkle at 109 High Street, Uppermill or call them on 01457 875727.