A catalogue of broken bones and back injuries is not the sort of career turning point that most of us would wish for, but for brothers Sam and Mihir Cholera it was unavoidable. They tried to return to work at their T-Mobile outlet after recovering from a horrific car crash in 2001 to find their jobs gone.
Sam broke both of his arms in the accident, while his brother suffered injuries to his back, neck and face. The pair were unable to work for six months. But their turned out to be a silver lining in the cloud.
When we returned to work, we found our jobs had been taken, says Sam. So we decided to go it alone because we were confident that the level of service we could provide independently would be better than if we were working for somebody else.
It took the Choleras a year-and-a-half to find the right location for the store, which is situated in Mill Hill in north west London. Rent and footfall were both considerations.
Cholera says the chief aim when they set up The Independent Phone Shop was to provide a decent service to local customers and to do enough business to keep a roof over their heads. Cholera describes the early days as incredibly exciting, but back then their path was unclear to them.
We had no idea how successful or unsuccessful we were going to be, because of the competitive nature of the industry and how unpredictable things could eventually turn out, he says. We always knew it was going to be fast-paced and extremely challenging to go it alone, but we prepared ourselves for that.
There is one thing that Cholera never predicted: the long absence of a competitor in the area. But he suggests a big multiple phone retailers arrival in Mill Hill would be no bad thing, because it would increase footfall.
I wouldnt mind one of the networks or multiples setting up across the road from us, because it would significantly increase customer traffic, he says.
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