Last week I met the charming Nainesh Shah at his store Mayhew News in Belgravia, one of London’s most exclusive neighbourhoods.
To give an idea of how posh it is there, the sort of people who might pass by walking their dog are Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, actress Joan Collins, celebrity cook Nigella Lawson and fashion star Elle ‘The Body’ Macpherson.
But the community feel that Nainesh has created at the store is palpable, and a good many CEOs, self made millionaires and media high-flyers all buy their papers at Mayhew News and discuss with the proprietor all the usual topics of conversation such as weather and family news.
Nainesh says there are boodles of other shops selling exactly the same things as he does, so what he has done is give his customers another reason to visit. His is the only place in the whole neighbourhood where people can get things photocopied. People can bring in their memory sticks and print off the contents, fax them or send them on to someone else.
Although Nainesh has not been granted the chance to have a post office in his shop, he has a set of postal scales and sells stamps. It doesn’t bring him money directly but it brings people into the shop. He has recently taken on a member of staff who has a knack with repairing mobile phones – his customers know this and when they have a problem they come to Mayhew News.
“People can find things out here – if they need a plumber, this is where they ask,” he said.
What a brilliant way of making your shop indispensible to your customers.