All images courtesy of Hafod Hardware.
In the first of our special series on cycling in Mid Wales, we caught up with the winners of Powys County Council’s Tour of Britain shop window competition – Hafod Hardware in Rhayader.
Congratulation on winning the Powys County Council window display award, it really was well deserved. Where did you get the items which were on display?
Firstly I’d like to say thank you for giving us the chance to talk about our shop and its window display. We take great pride in presenting our business to the highest calibre and when we heard about the competition for the Tour of Britain window displays, we knew we had to try and do something special. Immediately, my Grandfather, Alan Lewis, recommended that he should go over to the National Cycle Museum in Llandrindod to view the possibility of us borrowing one of the bikes to use in the display. Freda Davies at the museum was more than obliging and allowed us to borrow a limited edition Gold Plated 1987 Raleigh bike. This was to be the centre-piece in our display. They also lent us two cycling shirts that were worn and signed by previous competitors.
What was your personal favourite display item and why?
One of our favourite items in the display was the map of Wales. We cut a silhouette of Wales out of a sheet of ply wood and marked out the route of the Tour of Britain using pins and twine, kind of like the sort of thing you would see in old war movies. It would have been easy to print off an ordnance survey map and mark it out, but we wanted to keep the old style look to it and pay homage to the history of the race.
How did the display come together?
One of the first things we did was look around the shop and think ‘What items that we stock can we use and are relevant?’.
Bike pumps, water bottles, sunglasses and head torches we all ‘musts’ and we had a few Union Jack flags lying around from our V-E Day window display. Less was more was our motto for this, and we didn’t want to take too much focus away from the bike. Just a few accessories were enough.
How did customers react – did you have many people chatting to you about the display?
Our customers loved it! As soon as we put photos up on social media, we had a wonderful reaction. Many people didn’t realise the race was taking place until they saw our window display. Many people popped their heads into the shop just to say how much they liked the display and a few even asked how much we wanted for the BIKE!
Are you a cyclist yourself?
I do the odd bit of cycling up the Elan Valley which is one of the most beautiful places in Britain. We are very lucky to have it on our doorstep and it is never taken for granted. My bike seems to have the most use though as a means of emergency transport. I am also a retained fire fighter for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, so when my alerter goes, it’s straight on the bike and down the station as quick as possible.
Did any of the other businesses in town mark the race in any way?
Quite a few different businesses in town got involved in the competition in one way or another. The town set up a business group last year and the competition was advertised through the Business Group to encourage more people to take part. Our local arts organisation CARAD made a fantastic arts installation in the town and that also won the first prize in their category.
Did you manage to see the riders coming through the town?
Personally, I had to stay in the shop during the race, but that allowed for my Grandparents to go and watch the race. They took pictures and videos so I was able to get a feel of what was going on afterwards.
What was the atmosphere like in the build up to the event, and how did the residents and businesses owners in Rhayader feel to have riders like Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish visiting the area – if very briefly knowing the speeds they reach?!
It’s always a spectacle. The town turns out in their crowds to support the riders and it brings a lot of people from the outskirts into the town for the day.
You’re obviously very creative as all your window displays are fantastic – how did you apply your creative talents to the Tour of Britain display? (for example, I noticed the excellent use of photoshop for Team Hafod – loved it!)
Over the last few years we have had a bit of fun creating images using photoshop for different occasions such as Christmas, the Olympics and seasonal offers. It sparks a bit of interest on social media, and makes a few people smile who see the images in our shop window.
What does the local area have to offer cyclists who might want to pay a visit after the Tour of Britain?
Rhayader and The Elan Valley really is a cyclist’s paradise. The landscape makes for outstanding scenery and the amenities in the town offer everything you need. We have a fantastic cycle shop called ‘Clive Powell’s Mountain Bikes’ which offer guided cycle excursions, and the number of pubs and accommodation providers in town make for a cracking cycling break in Mid-Wales.
Can you explain a little of the history of your shop, and your role – both the creative side with local posters, logos and flyers as well as the hardware shop side of things?
Hafod Hardware first opened it’s doors in 1895. Built specifically as and Ironmongers you can tell straight away the shop would be had pressed to trade as anything but. The shop was owned and run by a gentleman called R.D. Ryder, who was a cousin for my Grandfather, for the majority of its time. My Grandparents, Alan and Pauline Lewis, then bought the business in 1999, reverting it back into the family. I started working in the shop in 2009 after studying Art and Design in Newport University. My first task was to set up an online presence for the shop, creating a website and social media pages. I think in this day and age this is a must as it allows you to reach far more customers and makes marketing to the masses much more manageable. The quieter winter months also allow for me to incorporate my art projects into the business. This season our series of vintage style tourism poster have sold particularly well and we are getting more requests for other local town and villages by the day. As well as being your local DIY store we now offer a range of original pieces from other local partners. We sell ornate pieces from the local forge as well as walking boots from another local trader. Working alongside other local businesses is becoming a great way for smaller towns to market themselves and work together in a time of austerity. We want to be at the forefront of that idea and set a precedence. We will always hold true to the nature of our business whilst being forward thinking in how we can diversify in a changing market.
Find out more about the National Cycle Museum here – www.cyclemuseum.org.uk – we’ll be featuring the museum soon as part of our Mid Wales series.
Clive Powell Cycles can be found here http://www.clivepowell-mtb.co.uk/