Based in the town for more than 30 years, the dry cleaners Bib & Tucker has a loyal and devoted customer base, many of whom have been going to them since they opened. Here we meet owner Turgay Ali, known by most as ‘Togs’, to find out the secrets of their success
Tell us a bit about your business…
We’re a combination of a dry cleaner’s and a repair and alteration service, and we’ve been operating in the town for 32 years. I run the business with my wife, Serap, and we have an in-house tailor, known by everybody as ‘Mr G’, who works with us too. No two days are ever the same and you never know what you’re going to get in – from wedding dresses to ball gowns and vintage items. I think the most unusual thing we’ve had, though, was a parachute, which had a few rips that needed repairing! I was thinking to myself, that must have come down pretty quick… We love what we do and pride ourselves on our great customer service and friendly atmosphere.
What made you decide to set up in Caterham?
Originally, we were based in Mitcham, and had a shop there for five years. However, I had always liked Caterham, so when a shop became available in 1986, we decided to go for it. It’s a great little town and we’ve always been very happy here.
Is there any advice you would have for other business owners in the town?
For us, the important thing has been the personal service that we offer. My wife and I are here every day, running the place together, and we have a lovely, loyal customer base, many of whom have been visiting us for years. In fact, some of them we remember when they were still in their mummy’s tummies, and now they come in with their own children. So, I think it all comes down to first-class customer service – plus, of course, a high quality of service. Put it this way, we clean to a standard, not a price.
Why should someone visit your business for the first time?
We’re not the type of business that does special offers, or anything like that, because we believe in offering all our customers a genuinely fair price. So, I can’t entice you down with that. But what I will say is that we are a really friendly team and we love to have a chat with our customers. In fact, we even have chairs in the shop so that people can sit down and have a coffee and a chat with us.
What would be your top tip for someone visiting Caterham?
It would be hard to pick out just one, as there are so many great things to do in the town. However, one of the things I like best about Caterham is the number of family-run businesses there are – the two jewellery stores, Berringtons and JJ Browne, the Lathans at Floral Gallery, the chemist Vitaltone, Caffe Bambino, the craft shop, the bathroom shops (both of them), the nail bars… – which is quite unusual these days. In fact, there are a few families in the town that go back many years, so there’s a really strong sense of community.
Describe your typical lunch break to us…
I rarely have time to take a proper lunch break, as we’re always so busy, but we’ll usually bring some lunch to the shop or pop out to get some, and then enjoy it together out the back.
Finally, tell us your favourite thing about the town…
I’ve got to admit, I do love Caterham. As well as the friendly atmosphere, there are three routes into the town, which means there’s always an alternative if the traffic’s busy; there is plenty of parking here; and we’ve got everything you could want except a men’s clothing shop! The other thing is, whenever people leave, they generally come back. So, whenever anyone is moving on, I always say to them, you’ll be back sooner or later! And, invariably, I am right.
Meet more Caterham Characters…
- Meet Stuart Johnston from home-improvements business, Shard Solutions
- Meet The Caterham Cobbler, Stilios Photiou
- Meet Said Yazici from Caterham Sweet and Savoury Waffles
- Meet Andrew Browne from JJ Browne & Son jewellery
- Meet Abigail Pedrick from Pedrick’s Zero Waste Shop
- Meet Erika Giucastro, team leader at Clarks Shoes
- Meet Paul Smith, director of Fenchurch Insurance Brokers
- Meet the joint owner of Specsavers, Sundip Patel
- Meet Vitaltone Pharmacy and Vitaleyes Opticians’s Shim Patel
- Meet the manager of St Catherine’s Hospice charity shop, Emma Glass
- Meet Bow Butterfly’s Katie Kennedy
- Meet Time Hair & Beauty’s Katherine Casey-Farmer
- Meet Jade Insurance’s Martin Kemp
- Meet Caterham Galleries’ Jodie Green
- Meet Surrey Strength and Performance owner, Daniel Iaciofano
- Meet Helena Fortley bridal boutique’s Sally Brady
- Meet Wingate’s Ben Clarke
- Meet Huntley Cartwright’s Chris Huntley
- Meet The Wedding LookBook’s Ying Shi