Just a Minute With ……. Sanji Patel, Lalu Halai & Irene Patel from Patels!
Hello Sanji. How long have you and your family had your business in Crouch End?
Our family opened the business in 1972. My dad was a builder & plumber and he & my mum decided to open a shop.
What are the best things about owning your own business?
We have a good laugh and joke with the customers. They basically become your friends. The builders talk and pass advice to each other. I suppose it’s like a social club here!
What don’t you like about it?
There’s nothing we don’t like. Even when we’ve had a bad day, the customers come in and cheer you up really. As I said, it’s more like a social club as the customers are here for a chat & advice!
What are the main challenges you face as a small independent business?
The biggest challenge is council tax, which is going up every year, and we’re not getting any hope from the government. We feel we’re just left on our own with no support; I mean who do you turn to? The other challenge is getting the supply because some of the big companies won’t supply to us. Really it’s the big online companies like Amazon & ScrewFix, which causes problems for the smaller independent shops like us. We then try other ways by going to manufacturers and sometimes we can get supplies directly from them. We have to find solutions or you’re a dinosaur. You have to move with the times!
What’s your best seller?
All the fillers, sealants and silicones sell well & plumbing tools and ironmongery. Each day is different though so people come in here for so many things. Probably our biggest seller is the advice and knowledge we can give to our customers which you can’t get in other places.
What is one of your favourite films of all time?
The Godfather Trilogy because it shows coming from nothing and coming up through the generations of how life has evolved and how they were in the mafia business and then how in the last one they tried to be clean and go into banking! They’re just brilliant films! I also liked Scarface & Mad Max!
There is also a very good Hindi film called Gully Boy which was released earlier this year.
Patels are specialist dealers in plumbing, hardware, professional hand tools, fixings & fasteners, architectural ironmongery, fillers, sealants and much more!
They are open Monday to Saturday from 8.30am to 5pm and you can find them at 147-149 Tottenham Lane.