‘True family business’ celebrates 40 years in Ottery

Chris and Jeff Abbott outside the shop in Ottery. Ref sho 33 19TI 7523. Picture: Terry Ife

Chris and Jeff Abbott outside the shop in Ottery. Ref sho 33 19TI 7523. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A popular Ottery family business, which began from a living room, is celebrating four decades in the town.

Father and son Alec and Tony Abbott opened Abbotts DIY for the first time in 1979 from their home in Jesu Street.

The duo had been working together as electrical contractors around the parish before Alec's wife, Betty, saw an opportunity for a new business as people called on their home nearly every day to buy cable and electrical fittings.

The family converted their living room into a small electrical shop and fitted a bell so Betty could serve people in between doing her housework.

By 1983 the business was outgrowing its premises and moved into the old carpet warehouse next door and extended its DIY stock.

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The business continued in the family with Tony and his wife, Vivienne, and sons Chris and Jeff became the third generation to take the business on.

Chris said: "We have always been a truly family business and it was extremely unique and the best possible apprenticeship for us to work alongside both our parents and grandparents at the same time.

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"Sadly though we have lost Alec, Betty, Tony and Vivienne all within 14 years, but their business lives on in the hands of the third generation of the family. Continuing the values of customer service, large stocks and good value that we were taught."

Further expansion was on the cards in 1997 when the family purchased 3 Jesu Street to house its building products, pallet deliveries and timber store.

The millennium saw the opening of its cook shop and housewares section and eight years later opened its second shop in Seaton.

To mark the store's 40th anniversary the brothers have announced they are expanding the Seaton shop into a neighbouring property.

Chris said: "We always strongly supported the town where we grew up and love, and our late parents were heavily involved with the town council and chamber of commerce. Abbotts will continue to support the local community as much as the local community has supported us.

"Although the trend is now to shop online rather than in towns like Ottery, we can be truly thankful for those who still chose to shop local, and support businesses like ours."

The shop will be offering drinks and cakes to customers on Saturday, August 17. There is a free prize draw throughout the month with a top prize of a gas barbecue to be won.

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