Having spent his whole working life in retailing, 13 years ago Stephen took a leap of faith and went from gentlemen’s outfitting to selling motorhome accessories. He joined Southdowns in March 2007 and now heads up the sales team in our new Motorhome Centre shop.
Q What are your key responsibilities?
A run the shop on a day-to-day basis – helped on weekends by my wife Sheila. I am responsible for stocking and buying all the merchandise as well as dealing with the administration associated with a busy retail operation.
Q Briefly describe your average working day
A They’re all different.
Q What attracted you to work for Southdowns?
A I was headhunted by Southdowns from a competitor, where I was manager of a very large accessories shop. I wasn’t really considering leaving until I was approached by the Aylings but my current job had become very pressurized so I was tempted – I realized I had too few staff and not enough time to spend with individual customers, which is the part of the job I most enjoy. In the end, they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse!
Q What is the best thing about working for the company?
A I am thoroughly enjoying working in a family business where people matter. I feel I can do my job in a civilized way, with time to talk to customers and really giving them added value. We make a big effort to source items for customers, no matter how small or inexpensive they are and people really appreciate that. It is that level of customer care that makes my job worthwhile.
Q Does working with motorhomes hold an appeal for you?
A Having spent more than 10 years working in the motorhome industry, yes of course I am interested in the product. I have never owned a motorhome but we hired one in Tasmania a few years ago which was a fantastic experience, so although I find the size of the bigger motorhomes off-putting, in the future I might think about buying a smaller one.
Q If you could take a motorhome anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A I would love to go to new Zealand.
Q Finally, if you could fulfil one ambition, what would it be?
A I would like to travel. I am fascinated by the fact that despite our cultural differences, people really are the same wherever you go.
Stephen lives in Chandlers Ford with his wife Sheila. They have two grown-up children and three grandchildren. Stephen was interviewed in Summer 2007.
Stephen can be contacted on :
Shop Direct Line number: +44 (0)2392 674822
Southdowns Switchboard Number: +44 (0)2392 674820