'We stick to our roots': Siblings carry on 24-year-old family business
- Credit: Chantelle Billson
Owners of a family-run multi-retailer in Hornchurch have put their award-winning personal touch down to their parents' influence.
Robbie Wootton, 41, and Cassie Wootton, 39 - owners of Best Sellers in Station Lane - say they continue to run the store incorporating the lessons their parents, Carl and Josie Wootton, both 67, taught them.
Carl set up the business on a stall in Chrisp Street Market in 1976, before opening his first store in the area in 1978.
The Hornchurch shop opened in 1998 and this year, it claimed the best shopfront award at the Havering Small Business Awards.
Father-of-four Robbie said his dad worked in the market from the age of nine and was one of eight children.
The small Chrisp Street shop was closed when Carl retired, but their mum, Josie, is still working.
“Mum still works and is still in the shop with us, and we keep saying to her to retire, but she keeps turning up,” joked Cassie.
“We stick to our roots with providing a toiletries and cleaning section because that’s how mum and dad started and we will always keep the section there for dad,” said Cassie.
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The siblings, who work seven days a week, said the store has evolved to “keep up with the fashion of how things change” and it now offers items that allow customers to furnish their whole house.
Cassie, who is a florist, said: “Things are fashion-led now, like with the flowers, which do so well for us. We offer the service of personally making you something for your home.”
Robbie said as a family-run business, they work “that extra bit harder” to look after customers, who have become like friends and watched them grow up.
“The personal touch has been instilled in us from our parents and it’s a big part of what we offer," he added.
As children, the pair would tag along to trade shows with their parents, who gave them 50p and challenged them to pick a successful line that would sell well on the stall.
The challenge of picking successful stock is one they still face, and Robbie said they both are “very different” with what they buy.
Ahead of Christmas 2022, the duo hope to host a “night of style” with invitations sent to local businesses.