In our last blog entry we looked at the fascinating story of our founder, Gerry Power, as told by his own personal notes. Here we pick up where we left off to find out more about how NetCurtains.co.uk grew and developed to gradually become what it is today.
After getting off to a brilliant start and making a name for themselves, Gerry and his uncle and business partner Ben were facing increasing competition in the market for curtains and fabrics. Gerry recalled one particular occasion when a new curtain design (nicknamed “the television” due to its square pattern) had just hit the market.
Faced with a wholesale price of 1/6 per yard for this new product, Gerry approached his supplier Major Crone claiming that a rival, Ashe Kramer, was undercutting him and charging only 1/5. Crone was less than pleased and sold Gerry 12 rolls for only 1/4, only for Kramer to catch him loading them into his van. Upon learning that Crone had offered such a low price, Kramer angrily offered Gerry another dozen rolls for just 1/3. Unsurprisingly, Gerry and Ben were able to make a tidy profit and were soon sold out again!
At this point, Gerry and Ben had to haul their stock to their stall every morning from a disused railway wagon a few hundred yards from the market. Closer to the stall, another wagon which had been converted into a shop become available for £500. Gerry went ahead (despite the objections of Ben and both of their wives) and bought the shop, transforming it into their first premises.
This proved to be a great decision, and the popularity of Gerry and Ben’s business continued to grow. They searched all over London for bargain materials and crafted them into whatever their customers demanded, from curtains to fashionable skirts. In the later part of the 1950s, Gerry ran a second shop in Peckham, but later sold it to concentrate on Lewisham where it all started, and continued to enjoy great success for years. By the time the council finally bought and demolished the Lewisham shop several decades later, Gerry’s son Andrew had expanded the business to Bexleyheath.
We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing some of Gerry’s story and learned a bit more about our family business. Clearly we’ve come a long way, but we’re still looking forward to the future with many more years in business ahead of us.