Shopkeeper Profile-Frome Hardware
Continuing our double feature – after catching up with Sophia Elouise, we chatted to Frome shopkeeper Dan from Frome Hardware about life on Catherine Hill; Frome Hardware is one of our growing family of awesome Market Maker shops – if you’ve signed up to our Market Maker membership scheme you’ll get exclusive discounts from this wonderful establishment and more… Read on friends!
Hello Dan! Tell us a bit about your own background – what led you to set up shop in Frome?
I’m from just outside Brighton originally, but moved to Cornwall for 5 years whilst studying Sculpture, Furniture Making and then Product Design, my main pastime then was surfing though and I spent as much time in the water as I possibly could. After that I moved to Bath and drifted into teaching which I did for about 8 years before taking over Strickland’s General Store on Catherine Hill in 2017. Stricklands was an endearing little shop but very peculiar and the business has evolved a lot since then, especially since lockdown when we moved into our larger shop over the road. I wanted to be able to make things and sell things in the same space and had this notion that a working shop might be interesting.
What are the benefits of having a bricks and mortar shop, rather than retailing purely online or through pop-ups?
I’m sure there are benefits to both but I like talking to people and sharing knowledge. I think it would be prudent to spend a little more time and money on online marketing to get people to see my products but I enjoy meeting people and talking them through everything we do in the workshop. I think it’s hard to have that personal touch if you are only online.
Tell us about your selection process – what’s in your shop and why?
I think it’s all pretty instinctive, it’s probably not a great business plan but in short, it’s a shop full of things I like. I suppose I have three loose criteria; things based around the notion of a traditional hardware shop like tools and brushes, nothing plastic or with lots of packaging (not as a strict ethos, I’d rather just avoid it if I can) and interesting materials. I think those are the main points but it’s a fairly loose criteria which I modify if I see something I like.
What’s your favourite thing currently available in your shop?
I think probably the Japanese handsaws. I am a maker and I use them all the time so it’s nice to be able to talk to people about their advantages and uses.
What’s next for Frome Hardware?
I’m actually taking the laser cutting arm of the business mobile in September and am off to the End of the Road music festival to offer custom laser engraved merch for people, so we’ll see how that goes and perhaps look to do more of that type of thing in the future.
And finally, some quick fire questions….
I’ve never been ‘top set’ material when it comes to the written word…so..not much…but I love maps! I stare at OS maps of Frome for much longer than is normal.
Describe your dream day off.
I love trail running so a day with a map and a nice long run through a forest is a win for me.
What are you listening to right now?
In preparation for the End of the Road I’m listening to a lot of Jake Xerxes Fussell and Khruangbin.
What are you cooking/ eating / drinking at the moment?
My wife (Scatter Jewellery) is an incredible cook and whatever she makes is amazing but I’m especially fond of her Indian inspired cooking.
You can find Frome Hardware at 14 Catherine Hill, Frome, BA11 1BZ – they are open 10am – 5pm Monday – Saturday, and on market Sundays when The Frome Independent is taking place.