One Forty is the antidote to bland high street chains. Now firmly established as a THE ‘general store and café’ for those in the know, it is a cornucopia of stylish and eclectic fashions, gifts and homewares, many of which are rarely seen elsewhere. And its award-winning café means shoppers travel for miles to this gorgeous and relaxing destination.
What makes One Forty different to a chain store?
Former international fashion designer Elaine Graham who, along with her husband Richard own One Forty, explains why the Cranleigh, Surrey store attracts seasoned and savvy shoppers who regularly also head for London, Paris and New York.
“Most chain store buyers buy ‘safely’. They know what they can sell easily and don’t take chances on their stock.
We source specifically to offer different and exclusive lines, whether it’s clothing, bags and accessories sourced from a Spanish fishing village, to exquisite handcrafted soaps and candles from small businesses around us in the Surrey Hills.
We also sell one-off furniture finds, whether from an auction house or something stumbled across in our travels.
“This would be a risky strategy for many outlets, but One Forty has gone from strength to strength by offering beautiful and unusual things that are stocked in just a handful of outlets across the UK.”
One Forty has an award winning cafe
Fresh, locally sourced produce is important to One Forty’s ethos of high quality and sound ethics. Shopping can start after a ‘Bubbly Breakfast’ – or end with a luxurious afternoon tea served on an eclectic mix of pretty bone china and antique French linen cloth. Sociable evening classes over a glass of wine are planned to start in the café later this year.
‘A Taste of One Forty at Home’ takes the pressure off catering for your own parties with a delicious range of desserts, cakes and savoury dishes all made to order and ready for collection on the day.
A family business, founded on passion and a love of product
One Forty is a family business. The original shop was owned by Richard’s parents and was based in Lewisham, South London. Fed up with life as credit drapers, they moved to the rather more genteel surroundings of Cranleigh.
After meeting each other whilst working for Richard Branson on a Eurostar retail concept, they realised they had more than work in common so decided to spend time travelling together. They picked up inspiration along the way and in between running off to Gretna Green to get married, converting a barn to live in and having children, realised the potential for the Graham’s family store to be reinvented. It has been energetically transformed year after year since.
Celebrating Independent Retail Success
One Forty is now an example of independent retail success. Shopping there is a true sensory occasion, with different room-sets evoking different atmospheres. Service levels are superb – and staff are friendly, helpful and genuinely passionate about the store and products. As a measure of staff loyalty two of the original ‘Graham’s girls’ are still there – and will celebrate their 25th anniversary with the company next year.
The store is run like a large, well organised family with hard work, imagination and creativity leading to a constantly evolving visual feast. All staff are encouraged to have their input.
Customers are vociferous in their praise for One Forty – and word of mouth has now spread into a strong social media following. One Forty can be found at: www.oneforty.co.uk, on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/pages/One-Forty and Twitter: @140cranleigh
One Forty is a true experiential retail destination in a sea of ubiquitous identikit high street names.