In this section of our Family Business special, we spoke to the Herring family – Londis Shiphay Post Office about how they succeed working together

Phillip Herring (Dad)

Both my sons were brought up in the business. Chris is the eldest and he was always into the shop, since he was a boy – he wouldn’t know what two nines were, but ask him the cost of two Mars bars, and he would know in a second.

We balance each other well these days. His expansion plans are greater than mine – he was always keener on being in a symbol group, for example, pushing for partnerships with Spar or Londis. Whereas I’m a little more cautious, being that much older. I think it works well.

The secret of my success

Keep listening You’ve always got to have your ear to the grapevine, listening to other people’s ideas and I’ve learned a lot from my sons.

Chris Herring (Son) 

I started helping my dad in the shop when I was eight but since then I’ve become more involved. We worked together through the transition from manual tills to computerisation and the introduction of the back office. I’ve learned a lot from him and he always says ‘it’s a marathon, not a sprint’. He’s more interested in the profit in the bank at the end of the year than the details of what you sell.

I’ve developed my own focus too, particularly on promotions. You’ve got to drive cash through the till, you want stuff to move quickly rather than sit on the shelf.

Secrets of my success

Choose the right symbol group for your area Our profit margins have gone up by 7% since we switched from Spar to Londis. My strength in the business is to make these decisions.