Pride of Guernsey: Bougourd and Harry
ONE OF Guernsey’s oldest retail businesses, Bougourd and Harry, began back in 1925. The hardware store has now been overseen by three generations of Bougourds with stories to boot.
The business was established by current owner Alan Bougourd’s grandfather, before his father took over in 1955.
The shop provided much of the infrastructure for the growing industry.
Supplemented by the hardware store, as the greenhouse industry died the shop became the primary source of income, although there is still a steelyard behind the shop.
On being nominated for the Alexander Daniels-sponsored Customer Service award, Mr Bougourd said: ‘We are very pleased, delighted. It is lovely to know that our customers appreciate us and what we do.’
Now in it’s 94th year, the shop’s customer base is loyal, the ‘good old fashioned service with a smile’ epitomises local hospitality and ‘nothing is too much trouble for the wonderful staff’.
Mr Bougourd’s grandfather, Jack Bougourd, managed the shop with his partner throughout the German Occupation, during which time the shop had a forge.
The Nazi occupiers were able to commandeer the use of the forge and its materials at any time but it was also in the forge that the shop staff would cook the crystals that made islanders’ secret radio sets work.
The crystals were contained in a sealed copper pipe and placed in the fire.
That meant it could not be left long because the pipe would burst under the heat. However one such day the Germans burst in and Mr Bougourd had to hide the pipe deeper in the fire.
The subsequent explosion and shower of coals had the soldiers brandishing their weapons and only the loud swearing of Mr Bougourd’s partner about the low-quality Polish coal got them off the hook.
The Germans, in agreement, decided to investigate no further.
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