For our first Forest Hill Trader spotlight we are looking at one of the area’s greatest assets and longest standing business – Finches Emporium. Finches has been in Forest Hill since 1946 and currently stands as the only independent ski and snowboard shop in the London postcode area.
Customer care and a great range of quality goods and services is what keeps Finches going from strength to strength. The shop itself is a real landmark, just before the bend in Perry Rise, the double shop front can’t be missed from the outside, or indeed from anyone crossing the railway station walkway from platform 1 to 2! But the shop front conceals a much larger space than you imagine – the slopes of Forest Hill lend themselves to an ingenious use of the layout inside, with two floors being put to great use, every inch of space taken up with ski and snowboarding gear and a wide range of bikes.
Angela Finch explains to me that twice a year they change the shop around, so that in winter (October to Easter) the winter sports gear is in the more prominent, then in the summer months they bring all the biking gear up to the front and move the ski-wear towards the back of the shop. When the time comes in the winter to change it back, they always have a party to celebrate with Gluhwien and regular customers coming in to help kick off the new season and see whats new.
Each department at Finches has a trained and enthusiastic member of staff specialising in their sport, and the care and consideration you get in family run business like Finches is the kind of service the chain-stores can only envy. While Finches Emporium is clearly a great asset not only to Forest Hill, but to South East London, you don’t have to live here to take advantage of their superb range. They also have an established retail shop online too, at www.finchesemporium.com so you can browse at your leisure and purchase securely at any time.
As well as retailing, Finches also offer starter kits for kids, hiring out some equipment, repairing and servicing bikes – they are constantly developing new ideas and keeping up with trends, providing everything you could possibly need. I should imagine that if you live in or around SE23 and you’re into your winter sports, then you are already well aware of Finches, but if you live further afield then I can tell you that it is well worth the trip to come and see them, no matter what time of year it is.