Celebrating 70 Years of Success
Whilst some local businesses come and go, others stand the test of time. Blundell’s Hardware is one such businesses, celebrating 70 years of trading on Longton’s leafy high-street, writes Victoria Bamber
For generations, South Ribble residents have been using Blundell’s for all their hardware needs. Selling a range of household supplies including; cookware, cleaning products, paint, decorating sundries, DIY, gardening, electrical and plumbing; this independent retailer places a huge focus on customer service and satisfaction, as well as competitive prices and a close relationship with the local community.
With one foot in the past and an eye on the future, Blundell’s is looking to celebrate its 70-year history by hosting a heritage weekend event over the August bank holiday. Customers old and new will be invited to visit the original shop premises on Chapel Lane, Longton, which will house a temporary exhibition showcasing the history of the business stretching back over the past seven decades.
Inviting customers and local residents to share their own memories of Blundell’s from bygone times, owner Nick Thompson and his team have planned to display some interesting artefacts from the past, as well as a selection of archive photographs and an eye-catching window display.
With a unique story stretching back to the post-war era and 1948; the hardware shop was originally set up by Ronnie Blundell, who left his trade as a barber and started a delivery round from the back of an ageing wagon, trading as ‘R. Blundell – Ironmonger’. Instantly successful, Ronnie quickly upgraded to a ‘step-inside’ mobile shop in a converted coach, which did the rounds on the streets of Longton and surrounding villages for several years.
Ronnie’s wife Lynn soon got involved, selling items from their home in Walmer Bridge, alongside the delivery round. In 1958, the extra sales prompted the search for a shop for Lynn to run – along with her sister, Irene.
The original Chapel Lane shop (now YMCA) was leased to Blundell’s by the Booth family, who then owned the adjacent shop, on the understanding that Booths would one day extend into it. As the business grew, Ronnie eventually sold his coach to a local greengrocer and joined his family indoors. Over the next decade additional staff were taken on, including son, Graham, who initially joined the business part-time whilst completing an engineering apprenticeship.
When the time came for Blundell’s to move on, Ronnie was quick to secure prestigious new premises nearby. In February 1971 – two weeks before the introduction of decimal currency and following an impressive renovation – business was transferred to the former Co-op building on Liverpool Road – from where it still trades to this day.
In 1978, a year before Ronnie’s retirement, the company changed its trading name to Blundell’s Hardware. Shortly after, Graham, his wife Denise and their excellent team took over running of the shop. The two remaining original staff members – Ronnie’s wife Lynn and her sister Irene, retired in the early 1990’s, fully passing the torch onto the next generation.
Inspired by the fine Victorian shop frontages on Lord Street, Southport, in 1992, the iconic Blundell’s shop front canopy was installed to Graham’s design and specification – removing the original shop front, but still preserving the old Co-op signs, which adorn Blundell’s stock room to this day.
Following Graham’s well-earned retirement in 2015 the business is now owned by Nick Thompson, who is committed to retaining and celebrating the history and heritage of this local high-street staple. With a dedicated team of knowledgeable staff, led by manager Collette Marsden, the business continues to go from strength to strength. Committed to offering the same great service and personal touch that Ronnie and Lynn instilled back in 1948, Nick is passionate and enthusiastic about the business and the service they provide across South Ribble and beyond.
“We are delighted to host the heritage event this bank holiday weekend and we are really looking forward to reminiscing and sharing stories about the business that Ronnie created all those years ago,” explained Nick.
“Whilst we aim to be innovative and forward-thinking, we appreciate that our past is a part of what makes Blundell’s so special. We may be constantly evolving, but old traditions, excellent customer service, a personal touch and competitive prices, will always be at the forefront of our organisation.”
Recently involved in local festival, Longton Live, as well as other community events; Blundell’s has stood the test of time despite a challenging economic environment and strong competition. Now with extended opening hours and offering a Sunday and bank holiday service; Blundell’s is continuing to adapt to meet the changing needs of the community and serves a range of customers, no matter what their needs or requirements.
“Aladdin’s Cave just about covers it!” says Nick. “As well as traditional hardware supplies and top-quality branded products, we also offer key cutting and paint mixing services, carpet shampoo and cake tin hire, and a developing boutique garden centre. Our staff are friendly, efficient and dedicated to continuing Blundell’s success and with ample free parking and a location right in the heart of Longton, we can guarantee your visit will be as relaxing and enjoyable as Ronnie’s home visits in his wagon all those years ago!”
159-161 Liverpool Road
Longton PR4 5AB