Village hardware store is top of the shops in retailer competition

Mike Dennis (59) and his wife Jeannette Dennis (57) still run the family shop of Heming & Co in Wickham ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (143106-3867)
Mike Dennis (59) and his wife Jeannette Dennis (57) still run the family shop of Heming & Co in Wickham ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (143106-3867)

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IT’S a family-run business that has been open since 1895 and serves its community well.

So the owners of Heming & Co in Wickham were thrilled to have come out on top in The News’ small retailer of the year competition.

The store has been selling kitchenware, giftware, hardware and pet products for almost 120 years.

The competition was launched in a bid to promote independent shops across the area.

Michael Dennis said: ‘We are chuffed to bits, not just for us but for the village.

‘I have been amazed with the positive feedback we got from customers. It was a delight.

‘We aren’t governed by what we sell. We do sell some unusual things that people can’t get anywhere else. We sell things out of season.

‘So many customers call us “Aladdin’s Cave” and come back on a regular basis which in today’s retail climate is a good sign for us.’

Mr Dennis said the contest was a good way to promote independent shops.

‘Shops like this are disappearing. We used to be part of a group of about 40 other hardware shops and now we are down to about five or six.’

Jeanette Dennis added: ‘We have to be grateful that our position is quite nice.

‘Although it’s a village, it has a lot of other attractions. It’s a nice community village that’s got top retailers. We all work together. We serve our customers well.

‘We talk to them and have a laugh with them.

‘There was no pressure with this competition but our customers are really loyal.’

The family also put their success down to their wide range of stock, much of which they travel across the country to purchase.

Heming & Co was closely followed by Queen’s Parade Newsagents, Privett Road, Gosport and Preloved Portsmouth in Palmerston Road, Southsea.