Multifix is a repair shop for electrical goods –
and an increasingly rare survivor on the High Street
“I think we are pretty much the last one standing in this part of London,” says manager Jeannette Matthews. “There used to be similar repair shops in Chiswick and Barnes but both have closed down. It’s a great shame but we have turned into a throwaway society. We are supposed to be looking after the planet yet people throw perfectly good things away that could easily be repaired.”
Multifix started life over 40 years ago as part of Frasers of Richmond, until the present owner John Clifton took over the Sheen shop and re-named it as Multifix. He handles all the home calls, repairing washing machines, dishwashers, fridges, ovens, and most white goods too heavy to move.
Jeannette looks after the shop with two repairers who work on smaller items which are brought in like vacuum cleaners, irons, toasters, lights which need re-wiring, and many other things.
The premises on Upper Richmond Road have an old-fashioned look and are usually choc-a-bloc with repaired items waiting to be collected, boxes piled on the floor, and new goods for sale scattered around.
“People accept this shop as it is because they do not want to lose the services we offer,” said Jeannette. “We are almost unique these days in that we will track things down for customers. We will spend time sourcing say an unusual light bulb or replacement bags for an old vacuum cleaner.”
“Some things are not easy to find. I had a customer who said he always needed to take a day off work to hunt for new bags for his vacuum until he found us!”
Replacement vacuum cleaner bags are clearly an important part of Multifix’s sales and they cover an entire wall of the shop.
There are hundreds of different bags on the market and Jeannette is skilled at solving the headache of finding the right bag for a customer’s machine.
Multifix also stocks a huge number of electric light bulbs, including the new LED bulbs which don’t get hot and have no mercury in them but are expensive at £8.90 each.
It’s no wonder the shop won Best Trader awards in 2003 and 2005 from the Mortlake and East Sheen Society in a scheme which is now unfortunately discontinued.
“Our main shop repairer Ralph is very talented,” she added. “He can fix most things, even unusual items like trouser presses, and a suitcase a customer brought in. He even repaired my belt once when it broke!”
But repairing and servicing vacuum cleaners is probably the bulk of the shop’s business. Ralph can even repair the old Hoover Junior, the ancient upright model first sold in 1935, which amazingly is still in use in some Sheen homes.
“They are still being made after all these years and we can still get spare parts for them,” said Jeannette. “I wonder if Mr Dyson’s machines will last that long?”
Article by Mark Dowdney – Photographs by Bob Lisney – Project Coordination by Richard Osbourne