Moving to a completely new area tends to mean that you do check the location of shops, banks, libraries, even schools. But it wasn’t until we had actually had our offer accepted that we found out we were very close to the Newton Abbot branch of Trago Mills.
What is Trago Mills I hear your ask? Think Harrods but without the cost . To be fair I didn’t know what to expect. My last visit to Trago Mills had been over thirty years ago, when I visited the original store near Bodmin in Cornwall. I don’t remember much about the visit except there was loads of stuff to buy.
Trago Mills was started by Mike Robertson with a store near Liskeard. The story goes (and I don’t know how true it is, but we were told by neighbours), that he started by selling a job lot of Wellington boots and went on from there. The Newton Abbot store began fifty years ago, in 1967. There is a third in Falmouth. Liskeard and Newton Abbot stores started as huts and tents respectively, but nowadays they are large buildings with the trademark towers.
Mike Robertson died in 2001 and his son, Bruce Robertson now runs the business.
Having heard about the nearby store from our neighbours, it was with a great deal of curiosity that I visited the store; initially in an attempt to get some household items, like you do when you have just moved into a property.
It stunned me. There was so much to see and so many sections. From paint to wallpaper to tools (for cars and the home); household items and cleaners; curtains and materials, threads and haberdashery; stationery; crafts; clothes and shoes; cards and books; furniture and carpets; garden materials and plants; pet food and pet sundries; musical items; sports items……. and I don’t think I’ve exhausted the list. And this was all under one roof. But that wasn’t all.
There was the most beautiful garden centre, which apparently won awards and was a reasonably new addition to the shop. And there were eating places as well. Not just run by Trago Mills but leased outlets too. To my delight, Warrens was there – who sell probably the best pasties in the world. I have the fondest memories of their pasties, the original traditional ones have not changed, thank God. But there are lots of other flavours – how things change.
I appreciate that it might not be to everyone’s taste but for convenience, variety and value, it is a hard place to beat, especially when you are five minutes away. I even bought our kitchen furniture from there. And going to the haberdashery area brought me to a new hobby (of which, more in another post).
And I haven’t even mentioned the miniature railway that runs around the site, which I found fascinating and one day will ride on. Or the Family Fun Park.
Alan knows that when I disappear to Trago Mills, I may be some time. It’s that kind of place.