Retro: Golden Anniversary - Changing TV times at firm
Crampton & Moore electrical goods company, celebrating 50 years in business this year, have roots in another famous city firm in the same trade.
John Moore and Roy Crampton, who set up the company in 1966, both worked for Wigfall’s in South Yorkshire as TV engineers.
The recent introduction of the new BBC2 channel and colour broadcasts meant the market for TVs was booming.
Sets were becoming more affordable and renting was very popular to spread the cost and covering repair charges.
Both partners saw potential in the growing market. The large rental operators at the time were growing rapidly but the unreliable nature of TVs meant often faulty sets were exchanged for newer models, leading to them having a large amount of faulty older second TVs to dispose of.
The partners struck a deal to purchase faulty TVs, repair them and then sell on or rent at a more competitive price than the large operators.
This really became the secret of the company’s success over the next 50 years to use its expertise – to undercut the large national retailers to offer customers a better deal.
The company first purchased an old Methodist Church in Wincobank as a repair shop and warehouse and employed more engineers.
With the repair side doing well, the new company expanded into retail, firstly with a shop in Rotherham and then a store in Ecclesfield in 1972.
The company still trades from it today but has expanded, purchasing the shop next door in 2010. A second shop opened in Firth Park.
June Moore, the wife of John Moore, left her job as a district nurse to help the business and was a major driver in the development of the shops.
The 1970s saw an abundance of new electrical products and Crampton & Moore increased its range of products dramatically.
The stores were packed with all kinds of electrical goods and accessories and domestic appliances like fridges and washing machines.
With money being tight for most people at the time, the company offered a variety of easy payment schemes including weekly payment credit, Christmas club, savings club and product rental. People who visited every week or month to make payments became friends and liked a chat with Mrs Moore and the staff.
The company continued to trade well and started to deal with the new Japanese brands now appearing in the market.
It had one of the first dealerships in South Yorkshire for Panasonic, Hitachi, Sony, Sanyo and Mitsubishi.
These were much more reliable than European and British brands of the time and grew quickly into household names.
The 1980s saw the introduction of technology including video recorders, personal computers, Walkmans, CD players, Teletext and widescreen TVs. Crampton & Moore helped educate customers on them.
Today we are used to fast changes in technology but back then people appreciated talking to knowledgeable, trained staff and getting help setting up and using products.
In the nineties the company had to re-appraise its way of trading. Products were becoming much more reliable, so the demand for repairs and service started to decline and people were become more comfortable buying cheap, unbranded electrical products.
After numerous break-ins and arson attacks, the company also closed its Firth Park branch and was left with only the one store in Ecclesfield. A new direction was need.
In the late nineties the internet offered a faster and cheaper way for companies to communicate with customers.
John Moore’s son Robert, the current managing director, joined the company in the early nineties and saw the potential of selling online straightaway.
The first plasma TV was sold to a businessman who had arranged a demonstration. During the demonstration a news flash appeared on the screen and announced a plane had flown into the World Trade Centre in New York.
For the next five hours the whole store was transfixed by the horror of the live news feeds on the 9/11 attacks.
The company today has a turnover of £16 million and continues to expand, partnering with Tesco to offer its products on the Tesco website.