Chris Ellis admits his number one priority as managing director of Dipples is to grow the business year-on-year without losing sight of its longstanding family heritage. And what a heritage it is. Founded way back in 1878 in Woodford, Essex, by George Henry Dipple, the company relocated to Ipswich briefly before finally settling in Norwich at the end of the 19th century, where it has been ever since.
Chris is part of the fifth generation of family members to run the business, which now counts a second store in Dereham among its ranks and is regarded as one of the most a highly-respected and well-known watch stores in East Anglia. Timepieces from Longines, Ebel, Rado, Gucci, Skagen, Citizen and Mondaine decorate its shelves and provide its loyal customers with an array of brands and designs from which to choose.
While management brings its own set of corporate challenges, Chris likes nothing more than getting stuck in at the coal face and working out how the business can add more value to its customers. “I’m a good listener and love working on the shop floor. However, I need to learn to not be so quiet and shout out more about the fantastic business we have and the great team we have,” he remarks.
Given the family ethos of the firm, it’s perhaps no surprise that Chris regards his father as his biggest inspiration, citing his ability to build relationships as a contributing factor to the way in which he feels the company should conduct itself. “I remember times when representatives have phoned him up for advice,” he says. “I hope he will agree when I say that when we work with other firms, we view it as a two-way partnership, where we can both grow and prosper.”
Chris knows that if the retailer gets that part of its business right, Dipples stands a great chance of remaining the first store that its suppliers and customers will think of when it comes to watches.