Dave Nowell talks to the team at Town &Village Esate Agents about 35 years of success and why the founderAlan Waring remains the very best of bosses.
Town and Village estate agents’ motto is: “Small enough to care, large enough to count.”
They could also add to that: “The staff love their jobs and love working here too.”
Owner Alan Waring is seen as a great boss to work for – which is why staff tend to stay, sometimes for decades.
He has another thought on that.
“Maybe I’m too soft,” joked Alan.
Whatever the reason, the business is still going strong after 35 years. Alan founded the estate agency in 1978 in an old automatic telephone exchange in Eccleston.
He had previously been an engineer and wanted a change of direction. He started off doing mortgages and then graduated to estate agency.
The business is still proudly independent and has offices in Eccleston, Croston and a prime location on the corner of Fazackerley Street, Chorley.
Its dozen or so full and part-time staff are all local people with a great knowledge of the area.
Its longest-serving member of staff, Linda Cumming, has been there 30 years.
Valuer Diana Lennon has worked for Alan for 15 years and many others aren’t far behind.
Sports-mad Alan is now 72 but has no plans to slow down. The ex rugby and football player and keen scuba diver and cyclist needs to remain active.
And anyway, he loves his job and likes his staff.
He said: “They’re a good bunch. It’s good that I have so many staff that have been here so long – the continuity is important.
“They’re pretty good – they know not to ring me when i’m on holiday!”
Alan added: “Someone said that running a business is like riding a tiger, if you get off it will eat you.
“I remember Dave Whelan (Wigan FC owner) being interviewed and he said he couldn’t imagine getting up in the morning and having nothing to do. I’m the same.”
So Alan remains a part of the team and knows how to look after his “girls” – marking special occasions with presents and get-togethers.
They appreciate that and reward him by working hard and staying loyal to the company.
Croston-based Sharon Gallagher, who has worked there for 14 years said: “It’s a fantastic place to work and Alan is great to work for.
“Whatever we are doing it works – we are still here 35 years on and we have a fantastic team.
“Alan treats people well and that’s why people stay.”
She said the good relationships both within the team itself and external contacts were vital and were part of the company’s success.
Chorley-based sales negotiator Elaine Shakespeare, who has worked there for four years, said: “He’s a good boss, he’s funny.
“He’s good to us and that’s why everybody has stayed here.
“We do have a laugh – obviously our first priority is to our customers and vendors and potential buyers but we all get on well.
“We have a good bunch of girls and we work well together.”
Rental administrator Karon Marsden, an employee for five years, saiid: “We are like one big happy family.
“Alan is a real character and great boss. Lettings are going from strength to strength and it’s busier now than its ever been.”
Alan himself has had a varied life – as a musician, sportsman and well-known local character.
He has represented Chorley both at rugby and football and apart from cycling is now a keen scuba diver, making regular trips to the Red Sea.
He is proud of the business and the personal touch that he and his staff can bring to their customers. Retirement is not an option.
“I don’t have a plan A,” he said. “I need to be active, what would I do?”