By Martin Vedris

GLOUCESTER: Stewart Carruthers, owner of Retravision Gloucester, part of the Retravision Northern group, has spoken out in defence of the group and against some suppliers following stinging comments about the group’s fate on Tuesday by an undisclosed industry source.

“They can say things about Retravision but the trouble is, who else is going to look after us,” Caruthers told today.

“We live in a little country town, many suppliers do nothing for us and then someone spruiks up but doesn’t have the guts to put his name to it!

“At least with Retravision, we’re all privately owned and we are trying to help people and deal with this industry that’s going through some hard times.

“I can name three big suppliers that have given us one visit each in three years, so what sort of help is that to us! And if we didn’t have Retravision we’d shut the shop. I also own a pub and I own these premises, so without Retravision we’d shut the shop and I’d rent it to someone else.”

When asked how the suppliers could do things differently Carruthers was straight to the point:

“Well a visit would be nice! I have Sony and Fisher & Paykel here once a month and most of my figures are with those sort of guys. Panasonic, Samsung and Electrolux don’t come at all — or once in three years. The models and prices change that quickly that we don’t know where we’re up to, they don’t feed us information and in terms of warranties, we have to take on that ourselves and then try to claim back what we can from the suppliers.”

Carruthers said that Retravision Northern gave him access to levels of support that he says he otherwise would not receive.

“If I’ve got a problem I can go through them and they will contact the state offices and the big bosses — they don’t want to talk to me, I’m a little pain in the ass.

“And as a buying group at least they get us a half decent price so we can run these little shops.

“Yes I know everyone wants to deal with the big shops who will take container loads, it’s nice and easy for them, but us little guys can’t do the turnover. My whole town and surrounding area has only 5,000 people. We don’t have many customers so we have to look after them.

“So without Retravision, we would not be here because the big boys only worry about the ones who are doing the big numbers, but the little country towns still poke along, they look after people, they give customers good service, and they do the right thing and without us our customer will have to travel one and a half hours one way to buy their electircal appliances."