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Q&A with WP Sports Store Manager, Darren Powell

Q: When did you join WPS?

A: I joined Wimbledon Park Sports in 2000 when the shop was a franchise of PWP Sportbase. At this time PWP were the kings of mail order so with our location and their customer base, the store and l had a great start with a reach much greater than just the local area.

 

Q: What inspired you to get into tennis?

A: I was inspired to get into tennis from around 8 years old.  It all started in my back garden with my friend next door. We used the dividing fence as a net and played for hours! Once I had the bug, I joined the local village tennis club and signed up for some proper lessons. From there, I represented the club in the local leagues which was great fun.  At around 14 I decided to purchase a stringing machine, learn how to string and advertise my services locally. It was a slow start, but I did earn some pocket money!

 

Q: What have been the highlights of working at WPS?

A: I never envisaged working at Wimbledon Park Sports for as long as I have, but it truly is a fantastic working environment if you love tennis and tennis people.  Whether it’s a beginner needing help to choose their first racket, or an advanced player looking the change string setup, l find it hugely rewarding to know that my advice has helped players along their tennis journey.  Also, because of our location and reputation, we often have ‘tennis celebrities’ walking in. I love chatting and learning from these ex-players etc. It adds another dimension to the job which is why I like it so much.

 

Q: How has Covid-19 affected the business?

A: Covid has obviously not been great for retail in the UK and Wimbledon Park Sports is no exception.  The only positive is that the enforced lockdowns both last year and this, occurred during the winter seasons. This has meant l have been able to use this time to plan for what has been and hopefully will be a busy summer period!

Covid has also accelerated our plans to roll out our own website. We have a plan to offer all the in-store knowledge gained to a wider audience and maybe sell a racket or two in the process!

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