Published: February 18, 2022 | Updated: February 18, 2022

‘Our centenary is really something to shout about – and we will!’ says proud MD Matt

Matt Renaut, Managing Director, Dacombes of Wimborne, and his dad, John. Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

Matt Renaut is a proud man – and he’s not afraid to shout about it.

His family-run business, Dacombes of Wimborne, officially celebrates its centenary this year.

Quite an achievement for any company but in the fiercely competitive world of electrical retailing, even more so.

But, says Matt, the ongoing success of Dacombes proves that there’s still a place for independent businesses in 2022.

He said: “Price is important but our USP [Unique Selling Point] is service and expertise.

“It’s why we have a very loyal clientele who keep coming back to us.”

Dacombes began life in Wimborne’s Corn Market, its home – along with West Street and The Square – for the next 95 years or so.

Matt said: “They literally sold anything from bicycles to motorbikes.

“We even have a 1945 receipt for a pram.

“I think they felt that if there was a customer for it then they’d sell it.”

After the advent of television in the 1950s, Dacombes began to rent and sell television sets

Matt’s dad, John, a TV engineer, and his mum, Carole, joined the business in the mid 1990s, becoming Directors of the newly named Dacombe & Renaut Limited in 2000.

Matt, who attended Bournemouth’s Portchester School before going to college and becoming a service engineer, was appointed a Director the following year.

John, 76, pictured right, and Carole, 74, still help out in the business.

Five years ago Dacombes moved to its current 4,500 sq ft store in Leigh Road, Wimborne, formerly the home of Brights of Nettlebed.

The relocation allowed Dacombes to expand its range even further, showcasing the latest in home entertainment and domestic appliances.

Matt, 50, said: “We were looking to create a destination store, using both levels to full advantage.

“The ground floor is laid out into the key areas of the home to showcase kitchens, a TV and audiovisual lounge area, a section for white goods and everything else electrical.

“The upper floor is used for storage and offices and also our home cinema room which was opened in 2019.

“For the first time we were also able to offer a bespoke fitted kitchen service.

“The new kitchen area saw us introduce made to measure kitchens in association with MK Interiors.

“It’s worked incredibly well and we work very closely with Sean Kehoe and Pete Marzetti (pictured right), of MK Interiors, who are on site to design and create bespoke solutions.”

Dacombes now employs 11 people, including four installers.

Apart from its Leigh Road shop, the business has also bought a 4,500 sq ft warehouse on the outskirts of Wimborne which is used for appliance storage.

The past two decades have seen nothing short of a revolution in home entertainment.

Matt, whose son, Jonathan, helps out in the shop during holidays, said one of the biggest changes had been the advent of flat screen LCD TVs.

He said: “They’ve freed up living space, especially as they can be mounted easily on walls.

“Ten or so years ago most of the TVs we sold had screens of between 24 and 28 inches but now, typically, it’s at least twice that.

“You can now get 85 inch and even 92 inch screens.

“Home cinema and multi-media rooms continue to be very popular.

“The pandemic has made people who may have a spare room, or even garage, consider a conversion.

“We can do it all or else provide specific packages such as a projector, screen and speakers for £5,600.”

In December, Dacombes saw off stiff competition at the ERT Awards to be named Best Independent Consumer Electronics Retailer (Small).

It was the third time in three years that the business won the category.

Julie Gray, who has worked for Dacombes for six years and is the only woman on the sales team, also scooped the Sales Excellence Award.

Matt said: “It was a great achievement and was on top of the many awards we’ve won over the years.”

A proud member of RETRA (Radio, Electrical and Television Retailers’ Association), the Euronics retail group and CEDIA (Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association), Matt said Dacombes would be strengthening even further its community links in 2022.

He said: “Five Loaves Community Bakery, a pop-up and not for profit bakery, hold monthly bakes in our kitchen area and we’ve adopted Lewis-Manning Hospice Care as our charity for this year.

“We are also one of the sponsors of the Wimborne Folk Festival and work closely with Wimborne BID and Wimborne Chamber of Trade & Commerce.

“I feel very proud about our centenary.

“It’s really something to shout about – and we will!”