BJ’s Value House bids farewell to Alan after three decades

Alan Murdoch, flanked by Richard and Michael Ford, is retiring from BJ's Value House in Barnstaple a

Alan Murdoch, flanked by Richard and Michael Ford, is retiring from BJ's Value House in Barnstaple after 29 years. - Credit: Archant

A familiar face at BJ’s Value House in Barnstaple has announced his retirement after almost three decades.

Alan Murdoch, a long serving retail and commercial director with the local family business, is stepping down after 29 years.

Mr Murdoch worked with Norman’s retail outlets as its non-food buyer until 1991 when he joined up with the Ford family at Brian Ford’s Discount Store in Barnstaple.

Brian Ford’s as it was locally known was an independent retail food superstore operating on Seven Brethren.

It was hugely popular and innovated with its ‘pile it high, sell it cheap’ concept, yet the company always aimed to associate with a friendly local feel in terms of customer service and staff morale.

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Mike Ford of BJ’s Value House said: “Alan was originally recruited to develop our non-food offer at Brian Ford’s.

“The problem we had was that Alan was so good at what he did, we soon ran out of space inside Brian Ford’s! His success inspired the company to convert its warehouse and former wholesale cash ‘n’ carry, nearby, on Seven Brethren into a separate non-food retail outlet with Mr Murdoch at the helm in 1993.”

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BJ’s Value House started out in a similar style to Brian Ford’s, piling up displays of books, pots, homeware, bulk pet food, DIY, furniture, toys and some gardening products.

Over the years, the store expanded further into plants and gardening with Christmas becoming a particular seasonal speciality.

Mr Ford added: “It is a testament to Alan that we are still going strong today, particularly with so many retailers struggling nationally.

“BJ’s Value House was Alan’s baby back in 1993 and it has evolved and developed into a home and gardening superstore business. We opened an additional store on Clovelly Road in Bideford in 2010 which has proved equally successful.”

Mr Murdoch thanked his colleagues and suppliers over the 29 years for their support, saying: “The industry has seen many changes but each year, we have tried hard to improve what we do.

“BJ’s Value House has become a well-known local brand now, always keeping that friendly, family feel about it which makes a big difference to many people.”

Director Richard Ford added: “Everyone here will miss Alan; he has been ‘the face of Value House’ and an inspiration to so many, a real pleasure to work alongside and we can’t thank him enough for what he has accomplished.”

Dave Crout takes over as retail director with Mike Scott as commercial manager.

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