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Now in its sixth decade, the South West’s famous discount retailer, Trago Mills, is set to celebrate its 50th Birthday in 2015 and is planning several special promotions and activities across the year.
Founded in the 1960s by Mike Robertson and his wife Pam, the landmark stores in Liskeard, Newton Abbot and Helston – before the move to Falmouth – were at the vanguard of discount retailing in the UK and set the benchmark for many others that have followed since. Bruce Robertson, son of the founder and now Chairman of the Trago Mills group of companies, remembers clearly how it all started.
He said: “Initially my parents wanted to develop the disused explosive factory site at Twowaters Foot (near Liskeard) as a sportsmen’s resort that would offer amongst the best fresh water fishing in the county – and be run in conjunction with their shark fishing vessel “Quesada”, a converted MTB that operated out of Looe. Regrettably, the authorities thought otherwise and the rest is history; no bad thing for myself as otherwise I would probably still be pulling pints and washing dishes in the clubhouse! There were many windfalls and amusing episodes along the way, the Villiers diesel engine bankrupt parcel, the half coaster load of Russian wellies and many more that I’m sure will be re-told with considerable fondness before the year is out’’.
“With few options and no money remaining, Mike reverted to the wheeling and dealing he so enjoyed in the early post-war years and retailing began ‘under the radar’ in 1965 – and here we still are! We’ve seen many famous retail giants come and go since then but there’s no doubt the main reason for our longevity is our total commitment to offering unbeatable prices on tens of thousands of products, in-store, here and ready to take away.”
He added: “We’ve got some terrific new developments in the pipeline and are planning some fun things for shoppers as, after 50 years of loyal support, now is definitely as good a time as any to remember who put us where we are today – local people, our customers.