Begg Shoes and Bags

Begg Shoes and Bags is a family-run chain of shops in the north of Scotland, and a favourite with people looking for quality shoes and leather goods since 1866.

This reputation resulted in Garek and Fiona Begg being approached in March 2013 by competitor DE Shoes, which had run into difficulty and was seeking help.

After a lengthy due diligence process, the Begg family acquired five of the 31 DE Shoes stores, trebling the size of the business - in turnover and workload. As a result, their son Donald returned to the business, making him the sixth generation to do so. 

Strategy to expand

The expansion has meant the family can no longer take a cavalier approach to HR and they have relied heavily on Mentor services for employment law advice and guidance to make it through a difficult transitional phase.

As Donald explains: “We now have 50 staff and need to take employment law & HR more seriously as we have faced a range of HR issues, including staff absences, underperformance, and refusal to work certain hours or attend training.” 

During the following redundancy process, staff morale was maintained by keeping all employees informed. It was also important to emphasise that the business would be turned around provided the staff bought into the changes that had to be made and the values of Begg Shoes & Bags. 

“Attendance and performance have improved dramatically, and Mentor services ensured we knew how to take corrective action where attendance or performance was poor. This has allowed us to focus on improving the standard of customer service,” Donald says.

Get a paper trail

Mentor has also reviewed and updated employee documentation, such as contracts and employee handbooks. “We now have the correct framework and no longer use a search engine to find out what we should be including in our contracts,” Donald adds.

“Mentor's service is great value for money when you consider the cost of legal fees for drafting 50 new contracts. Mentor keeps us on top of changes and out of trouble.

It provides advice quickly, while keeping our business rationale in mind - and this allows us to be flexible. It gave us the tools we needed to resolve three major issues in just three months, which has been a huge weight off my mind.”

 “We're a small, boutique family business, but online sales offer further opportunities. “The business has also been looking to recruit senior management staff - such as a shoe buyer, which is a fundamental role within the business,” Donald continues.

“Having the right recruitment procedures and contractual arrangements in place is business critical. With help from Mentor services, I believe we can get this right.”

Please be aware that any Mentor services mentioned within our case studies incur a cost.

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