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There have been one or two comments lately bemoaning the fate of what were once shops but are now nail bars, estate agents or coffee shops. But perhaps the tide is turning. As yet still unopened REAL on Topsfield Parade where David's superstore used to be appears to have a massive inventory of washing machines, tumble dryers and televisions. This definitely bucks the trend.
And almost opposite is a new art gallery - at least I think it is - the shop has no signs nor a name so I'm guessing from the contents that it is selling the art.
I have just shopped in REAL the new electrical retailer in Crouch End. The young man was polite and helpful and had what I wanted in stock. He gave me a discount for cash pending the arrival of the credit card machine. He was optimistic about the way business has begun.
Fingers crossed for a prosperous new year.
I needed a new iron and decided to check out REAL. This shop is an Aladdin's cave of all things electric from blankets and hair clippers to big white goods. The choice of irons was impressive, as was the advice. Since I am also in the market for a new hand-held food mixer I asked what they had in stock. Not such a huge selection of these BUT we looked up my top choice online and they offered to order it for me and match the John Lewis price. While I was there someone who had bought something earlier in the week came back to ask if by any chance they stock blank CDs (they do) and a pensioner needing an electric heater was served courteously and patiently. He was clearly a repeat customer as well as they wanted to check if the installation of his electric cooker had gone OK (it had). Within 15 minutes I left the shop with my brand new iron and a 2 year guarantee.
If you are serious about preserving everything we love about Crouch End, do try and support businesses like this. It is so easy to head for a superstore or Brent Cross or go online yet what you need may be available right on your doorstep along with brilliant customer service.
After I recommended the Saqi publication Turkish Cookery on opinioN8, I had an e-mail from one of my neighbours telling me about a new shop in less-frequented Crouch Hill where we can now buy jewelry, kelims and a range of hand-made things from Turkey. When I visited Pearl & Turquoise, I talked to Sevda about her home in Istanbul and she told me how interested she has been to find how many of her Crouch End customers have been there.
I recently bought a new washing machine in Real Appliances - I couldn't quite believe how helpful the guy was, very patient and even let me take photos of the machines so I could go home to compare reviews and he didn't mind one bit. I eventually settled on a machine, he gave me a great deal, price matched and he managed to have it delivered and installed next day for free AND disposed of my old washing machine for free. Gave his guys £5 each but can't recommend them highly enough. Was lovely to receive real genuine customer service which sadly is all too rare nowadays.
As an completely independent business owner based in Crouch End, I fully appreciate what they are up against and I will ensure they will be my first stop for anything electrical going forward.
REAL Electrical - another positive experience. The door of our ageing washing machine was coming apart and luckily before ordering a new outer door frame online, took advice from REAL. After looking up the model and checking the configuration of the door, they said we actually needed the inner frame. 24 hours later, we took delivery of the part, reassembled the door and hurrah, a fully operational machine once more. £30 well spent. Thank you REAL.