Inside the Aladdins Cave: The History of Chaplins – The family who bring Christmas to Plymouth
Chaplins Superstore is not coy about what has made it successful and with over 50 years trading under its belt in Plympton, Plymouth and 23 years in Taunton, it clearly works. Its success, as its owners Linda Thompson, and her daughter Vanessa Chaplin, happily admit, lies in a simple philosophy and winning formula sourcing and selling good quality products reflecting the changing tastes and styles that our customers require whilst caring for our customers and providing what they want at a price they can afford.
The no-frills back to basic approach and hands on management allows Chaplins to be more nimble footed in their buying policy than many other retail outlets. If they see an opportunity they seize it and are able to introduce new lines without recourse to a long decision-making chain. Linda says “ Shopping at Chaplins certainly has an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ aspect.
Regular shoppers, many of whom we now on first name terms, will find something new. They expect change, they look for bargains and they love surprises.
Linda started the company in 1967, when, with just £300, Linda and David Chaplin, who had retail experience with shoes and builders merchants respectively, decided to buy some clearance goods and start in business for themselves. Originally trading from Earl’s Mill in Plympton, Chaplins purchased a larger site and moved to its current location in Galileo Close in 1972. They have traded in Taunton since 1994 and purchased that site in 2015. Both sites offer free parking and easy loading.
This isn’t a shop for window shopping , it’s a shop for shopping at costs they can afford , lots of people know us by name , so they often come up to us asking for assistance , my team of staff are friendly and willing to assist customers old and new !!
Fantastic staff and loyal customers
Vanessa says “Chaplins would not have succeeded or developed its special character without the contribution of our loyal staff and many thousands of loyal customers who thankfully keep coming back. Mum always tells the staff that ‘The Customer is King’ you must give friendly service and help people. Many years ago we introduced our “55 Club” which gives discount on most items across the store to our ”over 55” customers on a Tuesday and Thursday. We also have a craft club which gives members discount 7 days a week on our craft department. We will continue to offer our customers products they want at prices they can afford.
Chaplins is a testimony to the enormous drive, focus and staying power of my mother. She is very single-minded but has an intuitive sense of what people want and she will go out of her way to provide it. She has always strived to make shopping a pleasurable experience rather than a chore in an environment where there’s never a dull moment. She love’s this business and has no plans to retire!