It's not all doom and gloom for all retailers in Croydon.
18th April 2013
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The news is full of it – the economy is on its knees and many retailers, be they small or large, are struggling so very badly.  So with all this in mind, it’s very reassuring to know that not everyone is down in the dumps.

In particular, I refer to Richard Mark in Wallington, just outside Croydon – a Menswear retailer with a large Wedding and Evening Hire division, who are celebrating their 50th year as a Croydon retailer.

Pat and Tony Rowland opened the business in 1963 when they were in their early 20s.   They were
the first business to open in The Square and are the only one remaining today.  Initially there were well over 40 retailers – today there are about 16 left!

The business was named after their son, Mark and then business partner, Richard Webzell. Richard unfortunately had to sever his connection with Richard Mark when he became UK Managing Director of Wrangler, but Tony continued with Richard Mark and also had a dabble with the manufacturing side in the shirt industry. Tony finished up owning his own shirt Company and starting off Fruit of the Loom in the UK – he fully admits “they were fun days!”

At one stage Richard Mark had branches in Wallington, Sutton, Dorking, Burgess Hill and Hamsey Green (near Warlingham), but over the years Sutton, Dorking, Burgess Hill and Hamsey Green were sold.

Today Richard Mark has a double unit, one totally retail with top brands and the other specialising in Menswear Hire. It is the latter which keeps them very busy – they are proud to supply many grooms with their wedding outfits including Olympic Gold medalists Mo Farah and David Weir.  Alongside these there’s a feature in a little TV Programme you may have heard of… everyone’s guilty pleasure! 'Don't Tell the Bride' - a programme the BBC have repeated at least six times.   Richard Mark has also fitted out many people for Investitures at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

Their 50th has created more interest than ever thought possible –  whilst the shop themselves made their own plans for celebrations, others have also got involved.

The Wallington and Purley Journal have written a three page article about them with pictures of the shop and photos of Pat and Tony.

The local Paper sent photographers down to take pictures and are writing an ariticle about them.

The IOD have expressed an interest in writing about them.

Surrey Life magazine have already written an article.

The local MP, Tom Brake, has always taken an interest in what Richard Mark do and supports them in their 50th year.

And their bank, RBS, describes them as unique and want to include them in a national Promotion on how a small business has not only survived for 50 years in business, but also with RBS!  

Tony is the first to admit that business is far from easy - it is very difficult! But determination, hard work and offering a quality product – matched with unrivalled customer service – can at least go some way to seeing you through those tough times.

Congratulations to Richard Mark on your 50 years – a fantastic achievement – and we at thebestof all wish you continuing success.

About the Author

Maud T

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi - me and my gang champion and promote the best businesses in the Croydon and Bromley Boroughs. If you are a local business owner, then we'd love to help you grow your profile, profits and get more business.

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