A town centre business that is marking 15 years on the high street has no plans to change ahead of its milestone anniversary.
Congleton Hearing Centre, on Duke Street, opened for the first time in 2008. This week, its two original team members were among those celebrating a decade and a half of solving hearing problems from the same office.
The secret behind its success, according to owner Anthony Berg, is the fact that the business has undergone few changes since day one.
“It’s how we remember shop service used to be, except with all the latest cutting-edge technology,” he explained.
When Mr Berg, (54), entered the industry, hearing aids were adjusted with tiny screwdrivers. Now, they are powered by technologies such as wi-fi and Bluetooth, with impressive features such as language translation and the ability to detect when an elderly user has fallen.
Sharing the shop with him is receptionist Kay Brough, who has been with the business from the start, and newcomer Jane Heyes.
Part of the appeal of the hearing centre is its familiarity and homeliness – many of the customers have been known to visit simply for a chat with staff.
Mr Berg continued: “Originally, I had plans to open multiple shops, but with the success of what we’ve got in Congleton, we feel that we would be losing some of that personal touch, so we’re happy to keep it as it is.
“That’s also the reason why we haven’t moved to big, brash premises. We’ve changed very little since day one, which is normally a sign that you know what you’re doing. You’d never come in and find a disinterested member of staff behind the desk.”
Because it is an independent company, the business can stock the widest variety of hearing aids from every manufacturer and can often get new hearing aids before the bigger companies. Mr Berg has been approached by national firms with offers to buy the business, but Congleton Hearing Centre has always opted to keep things local.
A customer’s visit begins with a consultation in which the main issues are identified, before a thorough test and a discussion about hearing aid options, sizes and capabilities takes place. Customers are given a rehabilitation plan and aftercare is free and unlimited.
Congleton Hearing Centre also offers wax removal, which is free for those who have purchased hearing aids.
As well as Congleton, the shop provides hearing aids for people in areas such as Alsager, Biddulph, Knypersley, Sandbach and Holmes Chapel.
While most customers are seen in the shop, staff carry out home visits for those with mobility issues. The shop also works with two opticians in Poynton and Glossop to provide hearing aids as well.
Testament to the shop’s reputation is the impressive reach of the brand – former Congletonians living abroad send their devices back from time to time from as far afield as Australia, Thailand and Spain for quick fixes and adjustments, before their hearing aids are posted back to them.
And as hearing aids get more discreet, more and more people are tackling their hearing loss earlier. Approximately 9m people in the UK suffer from hearing loss, but more are seeking the help they need.
Mr Berg explained: “People are realising that investing in good quality hearing aids is not a luxury but a necessity.”
He raised a glass to 15 years of business with his team.
“The future looks bright for Congleton,” he added. “We’re all looking a bit older now, but we’re happy to carry on doing what we’re doing. Here’s to another 15 years!”