A shop that encourages people to get outdoors has scooped this week’s Trader of the Week title for its outstanding customer service.

Mark Evans, of Great Western Camping at 28 High East Street, Dorchester tells us how - as a lover of the great outdoors himself - he goes the extra mile to make sure his customers have the right fit for the very best outdoor adventure.

Customers feel such a strong link with the shop, he says, that many of them photograph themselves while they’re away holding a Great Western Camping bag.

What do you sell?

Great Western Camping is a specialist outdoor retailer.

We stock an extensive range of clothing and equipment for walkers, travellers and climbers.

Our clothing brands include Berghaus, The North Face, Mountain Hardwear, Rab and Patagonia. Footwear brands include Salomon, Zamberlan, Keen, Salewa and Oboz

Dorset Echo:

The window display at Great Western Camping at 28 High East Street, Dorchester

What makes you stand out from the competition?

We are an independent retailer and pride ourselves in good customer service. We were runner up in two local awards in Spotcheckers Dorchester Independent Retail Awards and DBID’s favourite businesses in Dorchester.

If there is something that you are looking for and cannot find it in other outdoor shops we might have it or be able to get it for you.

What is your business best known for?

Our shop in Dorchester has been established since 1986 and has twice been a winner of the Outdoor Industry Association’s outdoor retailer of the year award.

In 2013 Team Ski was incorporated into the business.

Team Ski has been “on the piste” since 1990 in Dorchester, when it was started by Bill Ironside, who had been involved for many years in organising ski holidays and selling and fitting skis and boots.

Dorset Echo:

Mark on top of Mount Elbrus

How do you feel at being nominated as trader of the week?

Kirsty and I feel very humble and privileged to have my business nominated.

My customers have become good friends over the years and I would be lost without their continued support and loyalty which has been highlighted recently after the three month lockdown.

If you would like to see your business in this section of the paper, fill out a simple Trader of the Week nomination form and attach photos here 

What makes your customers continually come back to you?

Kirsty and I try really hard to please every customer and offer them the best quality product at the best price.

I ensure the customer gets the best fit so that they are happy and will return for their next purchase.

Dorset Echo:

Kirsty and Mark in Brecon

What would you recommend people buy/try from you?

Most of the products we sell should be tried on before purchase to get the best fit including walking boots, rucksacks, sleeping bags and clothing.

Due to Government guidance we quarantine anything that’s been tried on if the customer does not purchase the product.

What is your relationship to the town where your business is? How important is it for people to support their High Street?

Over the 19 years we have raised money for the new Cancer department at DCH, raised money for the town’s Christmas Lights, supported Weldmar Charity participants and donated raffle prizes to many local charities so we feel very much part of the town.

Dorset Echo:

Kirsty and friends at Dorchester Marathon

Customers have returned from their trips with photos holding the GWC bag up, so we feel very much part of their trip.

People need to support local business to avoid a town with many shops closed and I think Amazon have probably made enough money now so we can start helping our local community to find jobs.