Chapmans Ironmonger & Hardware is a traditional shop in Sunninghill High Street, near Ascot,  packed with useful home goods, DIY materials, water softener, gardening equipment, paints, hoovers, irons, kitchenware, tools and much more. Chapman's sell everything for the home and gives traditional, knowledgable service. CLICK on Ascot ironmongers for more information. 

Robert Ellison is celebrating 40 years at Chapman’s the Ironmongers in Sunninghill High Street in 2020.  

Pictured Above : Robert  Ellison - Taking Over in 1980 !

On the 30th August 1980 Robert started work at Chapmans in Sunninghill as a 23 year old. 40 years ago.  He knew very little about the business of ironmongery. 

He was lucky to inherit the existing staff : Jim Watts who was in his late 70's and had joined the firm just after the end of the First World War and Gertie Russell  - a lady in her 80's who spent the day whistling under her breath. It was later discovered that she was Robert's Grandmother's first cousin!

They must have thought , who is this boy trying to run this business without much of an idea.....They were right .  But he was popular; one reason being that  he doubled the staff wages in his first week.  Robert says:" I will add that they were earning 44p an hour at the time.  I, on the other hand, had to half my wages in order to allow the business to grow." 

"I also kept on, the existing Saturday boy - Lino Temis  - a local school boy whose Italian parents lived in Sunninghill. His mother used to make pizza for lunch occasionally, which was wonderful as it was authentic and homemade."

"It was these staff who taught me the ropes of this business and gave me my grounding". 

Robert soon learnt and enjoyed the village and kept the shop name  - as it had been known as Chapmans since 1895.  The hard work paid off.  And he took the view that the customer would always come first, . At Chapmans you would stop and attend to the customer regardless of what you were doing, always remembering it's they who are paying your wages !

Even in those days there was plenty of competition; every village and town would have its own hardware shop. There were" Do It All" and Wicks- type businesses, even then. Robert's  attitude to these were that there are customers who would always use these shops, but there were customers who would rather use an excellent local shop like Chapmans.  And he made shopping there a pleasant experience , encouraging customers to return.

The village itself has changing drastically over the past 40 years . In 1980 there were two butchers, a fishmongers,  a gas showroom, a bank, two greengrocers, three newsagents and only one restaurant! Toni International, and Matthews, were the hairdressers. Gudge Ward was the barber - an elderly man who had the shakes!  In complete contrast to today's street, there were no cafes and no estate agents.

Recessions have come and gone and Chapmans has pulled through the other side. Robert concludes: "I always have felt that being a village, Sunninghill doesn't experience the peaks in boom times, but doesn't then have the lows either.  And here we still are, after this unprecedented COVID-19.  But, that's another story for another time.....

Pictured Above : Robert  and Denise Ellison -! Covid Safe in 2020