At the Grantham Journal Business Awards the title of Businessperson of the Year went to David Charles.
Not only has he run Grantham Computer Centre for 24 years, but he is also founder of the Grantham Retailers Association (GRA), supporting independent businesses.
What did it mean to win?
The award was a great honour for me, especially as it was the first time I had been nominated. The competition I managed to fight off for the award was proof in itself of how well I had done. To be recognised for the many hours of hard work put into running a successful business and starting the Grantham Retailers Association was very gratifying.
What services and products are available at Grantham Computer Centre?
We do everything you would expect of a computer shop, including all types of repairs in store or on site. If we don’t have what you want we will always try our best to get hold of it for you. Not known to everybody is that we have a fantastic range of second user laptops, all with 6 months warranty.
Who makes up your team?
Our staff is our biggest asset and the service is superb, getting a highly commended award for our customer service. We have five regular staff working in the shop and three others who work on site at homes and businesses. Our software engineer Ian will get rid of that nasty infection, back-up your data etc. Steve will replace that laptop screen or build you the latest high powered PC. Twig, myself and Harry are the people to come in and talk to about any problems or any new hardware or software purchases you might need. Also Richard, Anthony and Richard give fantastic on site support for business or home equipment. We are open 9pm to 5.30pm Monday to Friday, 9pm to 5pm Saturday and open Sundays in December.
You set up the centre yourself - what advice do you have for others thinking about starting their own business?
The answer to this is quite simple . . . get advice, know your stuff, be prepared to work really hard, and keep on top of your accounts. There are plenty of business owners willing to help. I know it can be quite daunting but networking is a very important part of running a business and can give that much needed advice or contact. Know the business you are wanting to move into, know your market and customers and plan properly. If you’re not an accounts genius get the correct help. Far too many fail by not keeping on top of their cash flow.
You also set up Grantham Retailers Association to help independent businesses - how is that going?
We have over 40 members on our website www.gra.uk.net and a Spend Local Card giving offers and discounts in over 30 independent retailers. We have raised £200 for charity and have our first open meeting this year to discuss a big announcement on May 21. We also have monthly focus group meetings and will have a float and Independent Retailers marquee at the carnival.