Posted: 20.03.19 at 20:20 by Neil Scholes
If you're in the market for crowd control barriers, vintage typewriters, an antique doll's Silvercross pram - or maybe even a 1960s medical bed - then you'll find them all at Stamford's ‘Second To None’.
And this year, Stamford's very own Aladdin's cave is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Alongside the more unusual items stocked by the exclusively online business are hundreds of pre-loved items of furniture, electricals, mirrors, rugs, pictures, decorative homeware and garden items.
Owner Neil Scholes started the business in 1999 after leaving school at the age of 18, inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of Alan Sugar and Richard Branson.
Having turned down a university offer, he opted instead for the 'adventure' of running his own company.
Neil started trading in Ketton, Rutland, scooping the 'LiveWire Award for Business' in his first year, and quickly moved to a larger location in Stamford.
A decade ago he transferred the business to an online operation selling everything through his own website www.SecondToNoneStamford.com.
Neil says: "We are now one of the largest ‘online only’ second-hand shops in the country with 100s of items in stock.
"We buy and sell second-hand, modern, vintage and antique furniture, mirrors, appliances and more to suit all tastes and budgets - exactly as we did when we started 20 years ago, but now items are sold online instead of in a shop.
"When the business began in 1999 very few customers had a mobile phone or computer and even less had the internet; now everyone has the internet on their phone! Nearly 50% of our online orders are now made via a mobile phone.
"The business is continuing to do well. We re-launched our website a few months ago to be more user friendly and suitable for a range of devices.
"It's vital to keep the business evolving as the technology used by our customers evolves. We started a Facebook page a few years ago and now have over 2,500 followers, this has been a great way to instantly tell our customers about our new stock as soon as it goes on the website!”
"It's definitely been an adventure running the business. It's also been hard work and not without its challenges.
"But I'm fortunate to have a job that I enjoy and be able to make a living to support my family.
"Trading online has given me the flexibility to work around family commitments and doing the ‘school run’, although my 2 daughters (aged 6 and 8) love to help out with the business!"
The business' official birthday is in May when Neil plans to celebrate the special occasion with the people who have helped out over the years to make the business a success.
“I am forever grateful to my family, they have really supported me, especially when I started and have always been happy to help out when needed. My parents put up with a lot, especially in the early days, now my wife has to deal with the chaos that comes with running a business!"
All Second to None's stock is photographed and listed at www.SecondToNoneStamford.com, stock is updated regularly. Items can be reserved online and collected by appointment from the Warehouse, Old Great Road, in Stamford, or delivery can be arranged locally by ‘Second To None’, or anywhere in the UK with their recommended courier. All collections are strictly by appointment only. ‘Second To None’ is not open as a ‘walk around’ shop, it is online only.
Neil also offers a full or part house clearance service in the Stamford area and also buys individual items, please call 01780 757275 or 07989 133362 or email [email protected] for more information.