This is the second in a series looking at Ashbourne’s retailers in detail. What do they offer and how do their prices compare with out-of town retailers. The perception of some people is that Ashbourne’s shops have a poor range and are expensive. Ashbourne’s retailers disagree and challenge that people should Try Ashbourne First.
David Neill is part of MICA – a co-operative of independent DIY stores. This means they get the benefits of bulk buying without losing the personal touch. In particular they have own-brand ironmongery etc. First impressions of David Neill on Compton are of a bustling shop. Furniture is displayed out on the street – often with some clearance bargains. Immediately inside there is a feeling of a well stocked shop. There are some distinct sections.
To the left as you enter the shop is a kitchenware shop. Although the shop is ostensibly a DIY store, the kitchenware is very well stocked – possibly the best place to look for gadgets, pans and crockery in Ashbourne. If you are looking for basters, kitchen string, specialist knives etc – this would be my first place to call. To the right hand side when you enter the shop is a big area which tends to be seasonal. At the moment it is full of barbecues and BBQ accessories but towards Christmas it will be stocked with Christmas trees, lights and decorations. Upstairs is an area with furniture for the garden and patio. I haven’t explored this.
Towards the back of the store is a big paint section stocking Dulux, Berger, Hammerite, Little Greene and Sanderson. This may be one of the main reasons people visit a DIY store. In addition David Neill have a paint mixing service for Dulux, Little Greene, Sanderson and Paint Library so you can the exact shade you are looking for.
There is also an area with the commonly used timber sizes and a large area of tools and ironmongery, fittings for electrical and plumbing work. It’s hard to describe without going there but the shop is really well designed to fit in the maximum amount of lines.
The most important thing about any DIY store, and where David Neill scores far higher than the big name superstores, is the personal service. I have heard conversations where people have taken their problems to the counter and had really good, unpatronising, advice with a sale or return policy.
As with many other local retailers it is part of the Ashbourne Rewards scheme where every £1 spent results in 1 point and effectively a 5% discount.
So it offers a great range and great service – does this all come at a premium. David Neill are very confident that they offer everyday great prices when I asked them about it so here is the comparison against Homebase web prices:
Cuprinol Red Cedar wood preserver 1l – David Neill £11.49, Homebase £12.99
Steel panel pins 25mm – David Neill 100gm – £1.09, Homebase 250 gm £3.79. Another benefit of David Neill is the smaller pack sizes
Pine Board – David Neill 2.4m x 71 x 21 £5.99, Homebase 2.4m x 30 x 15 £4.43 sale price, normally £18.49
9″ Medium Pile Roller – David Neill £2.59, Homebase £4.99
These are randomly selected items from the store but they do seem to indicate that actually David Neill has lower prices than Homebase and vindicates the idea of Try Ashbourne First