Family firm has sold TV sets for 50 years
A small family business has survived in the widescreen world of television for five decades by giving something the multi-national chain stores cannot – personal service.
When Thomsons of Great Baddow started up in 1959, they caught the incoming tide of the TV revolution.
It was still the 405-line, black and white age when you had to wait for the valves to warm up before the picture flickered into place – and a 16-inch screen was a luxury.
Present boss Alan Thomson joined the firm from the Sweyne School, Rayleigh, in 1970.
By then Britain was already three years into colour TV.
Leonard had worked for the ECKO radio firm in Southend and electronics ran in his blood.
"He recognised the trade was expanding in 1959. It was a TV heyday and everybody was getting a set," said Alan.
Today the firm has a staff of 16, mostly engineers who install and care for customers' TVs within a 25-mile radius of Baddow, where the shop nestles beside the Blue Lion Inn.
"Of course things are very different now.
"I have a small collection of the old TVs from back then, including one in a Bakelite case made by Bush.
"Nowadays we have plasma giant screens, broadband and home cinema.
"We think our secret has been personal service. We are part of a buying group so we can offer good prices and we can do the whole job for people, setting up a complete system in their homes.
"I am proud to say we have at least two customers who have been with us since the beginning."