Jason Hadlow in his new auction hall
Anna Addison

Member Article

Auctions offer business boost for Teesside entrepreneur

A Teesside retail entrepreneur who took the unprecedented step of re-opening his ailing furniture store in July is launching a new venture for customers to help boost sales to prevent its closure again.

Jason Hadlow, from Yarm, was forced to shut down Simply Dutch in Leeming Bar in May as sales dipped but, due to unusually high customer demand in part brought on by the bad weather, the store re-opened in July.

To cope with the unstable economic climate, Jason has opened a 3,500 square feet auction hall at Simply Dutch and will now hold monthly auctions, starting on Saturday August 15th.

Since re-opening, supplies at Simply Dutch have reached an all time high with sales continuing to be steady. However, customers are now driven by bargain-hunting and bartering for the best price on many products at Simply Dutch.

Jason felt opening an auction hall was the next logical step for the company and is supported by his major suppliers. The auctions will offer a range of products including new and clearance lines from big-name brands, household goods and antique and vintage furniture.

Jason explained: “Given the present economic climate and changing retail conditions, people obviously want a bargain- and we want to sell. We don’t want to have to close our doors again as we’ve saved 10 jobs and we are seeing more people come through our doors.

“However, we do have to look to new ways of trading. Auctions were the next logical step. We sell unusual products- many are one-offs- and we have plenty of space to create a separate auction hall. Our suppliers think it’s a great idea and customers really will get good value for money. Speaking to hundreds of them over the summer holidays has shown me that this is what they want.”

Simply Dutch has a 20 year reputation in the area and is famous for selling unusual furniture, homewares and antiques.

When the store ran into difficult times and was operating at a loss earlier this year, Jason started a huge closing down sale reducing products by more than 50%. The sale resulted in a backlash from hundreds of customers who flocked to the store expressing their anger and disappointment at Jason’s closing down plans and, in less than 4 weeks, the business’s turnover reached £250,000.

As a result, Jason has re-opened Simply Dutch and restructured the business slightly in response to customer demand for more oak furniture and unusual home-wares and less outdoor furniture because of the erratic weather.

The first auction takes place from 11am on Saturday September 15th with preview days on the Thursday and Friday. For more details visit http://www.simplydutch.co.uk/ or contact 01677 427800


Editor’s Notes

Jason Hadlow took over Simply Dutch in 2004 and quickly pushed the business’s turnover to well in excess of £1 million annually. The Teesside-based entrepreneur re-located his family fromLondonto Yarm when he bought Simply Dutch, after visiting the store by chance and meeting its former owner, Alfie Gilmour, who was retiring.

Jason, who established Gigis Espresso Bar inLondonin 1999 which he later sold to contract catering firm Compass Group, kept all of the original staff on and has recruited several more over the years.

Under Jason’s ownership, Simply Dutch has had a colourful history, often attracting unwanted attention.

In April 2010, Jason had a four feet penis-shaped garden ornament confiscated by North Yorkshire Police after it caused a string of complaints. He was issued with a public order offence for displaying the stone phallus in his shop window and ordered to pay an £80 fine. The public showed Jason huge support and set up a global ‘Free Willy’ campaign with over 2000 members joining the Facebook group in under a week, a dedicated website set up in its honour and posters and stickers being emblazoned around North Yorkshire. Jason even hit the headlines inAustralia,Americaand aroundEurope.

And in 2009, Jason had a life-sized dinosaur impounded when disembarking a ferry atHull. Police used sniffer-dogs to search the dinosaur- and Jason- believing drugs could have been hidden inside the fibre glass animal.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Anna Addison .

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