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Mine Exploration Forum

Author Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Moorebooks

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Joined: 28/11/2007
Location: Newport, Shropshire

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 26/03/2016 18:52:20
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I have been reading on the Caving forum that Steve has finally retired and the café will re-open but no longer selling and renting caving gear.

The shop has moved online with the same URL http://www.berniescafe.co.uk/ which is sad, books can described on the web and independent reviews can be found but with gear I want to feel, try out , check the fit and be advised at that moment. This is a real loss to the community

Mike
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IP: 82.18.192.90
RJV

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Joined: 16/03/2008
Location: Cleveland

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 26/03/2016 20:12:03
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Absolutely, any loss of a related business is a pity.

On the other hand, having driven for two hours then having to wait whilst the people behind the counter finish their conversation before serving you is ball ache

Que sera!
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madness

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 27/03/2016 08:35:33
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Not that long ago I went to Bernie's with the intention of buying a tackle bag. It did seem to me that the staff were unhelpful and disinterested in selling me one.

It was a Monday so Inglesport were closed, otherwise they would probably have got my business.

In the end I got a sack from Starless River.

I don't know know if the disinterest of the staff was a symptom of the fact that Bernie's was due to close or a factor in the café/shops demise.
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ttxela

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Joined: 04/09/2007
Location: Cambs

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 27/03/2016 11:19:46
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Mrs T found them very helpful on the phone a couple of years back when she was ordering something for me, we visited the café a while back when we went on the GG winch and it was OK.

These things come and go I guess, but Starless River is definitely where I'd go if I needed something nowadays Thumb Up
IP: 86.137.49.72
RAMPAGE

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 27/03/2016 12:53:16
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some of you will remember I used to run a small internet based caving equipment shop called caving-gear.co.uk.

I had to turn it off in the end as it was a bit of a pain and I was frantically trying to get Go Below off the ground. It does still trade to some private clients such as OEC centres.

however, I hope soon to resurrect it as an actual physical shop near Betws-y-Coed. it'll only be small but the area doesn't have a caving shop at present (used to years ago!).
IP: 87.224.72.55
Tamarmole

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Location: Tamar Valley

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 27/03/2016 13:19:30
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I haven't used Bernies for years, however I did on occasion find the staff patronising and there did seem to be an "its all too much trouble" attitude. Probably explains why I haven't used them for years.

IP: 86.185.253.199
Tamarmole

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 27/03/2016 14:45:09
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I do wonder how much life there is in the traditional caving shop in general?

Down in darkest Cornwall I and many others manage perfectly well without a caving shop.

When I am looking for a bit of kit I tend to shop online, price being an important consideration. Whilst it is nice to handle kit in a physical shop I usually buy gear based on personal recommendation whether from people I explore with (I can try out their kit) or via AN so, arguably, this is not essential. The only exception is clothing which it is nice to try on.

If I want to buy kit from a physical shop there are a number of local outdoor shops (such as Go Outdoors) where I can pick up things like crabs and slings. My current harness came from Abbey Garden Machinery in Tavistock (7 miles away) which stocks a wide range of rope access kit.

From a retailers point of view maintaining a specialist physical shop must be expensive. This extra cost may well be passed on to the consumer (anyone remember how expensive J Rat's shop was).

Starless River seem to have got it right: Mainly online with a very wide range of kit including specialist items difficult to find elsewhere. Excellent customer service and informed advice. This is backed up by the occasional appearance of a "pop up shop".

Discuss.



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ttxela

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 27/03/2016 15:30:23
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A shop near Bwetsy would have been handy the other weekend when I forgot my helmet!

That said I'm more likely to buy stuff online, forgotten kit notwithstanding.

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Willy Eckerslyke

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 27/03/2016 15:59:14
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ttxela wrote:

A shop near Bwetsy would have been handy the other weekend when I forgot my helmet!

If you do that again, give one of us a call. Roll Eyes
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RAMPAGE

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 27/03/2016 19:44:40
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ttxela wrote:

A shop near Bwetsy would have been handy the other weekend when I forgot my helmet!

That said I'm more likely to buy stuff online, forgotten kit notwithstanding.



you can hire a set of kit (helmet, lamp, wellies, harness) from Go Below for a fiver.

Might get you out of a scrape if you're caught short again...
IP: 87.224.72.55
ttxela

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 28/03/2016 10:35:32
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Ah, well worth knowing thanks. I was able to borrow a helmet for part of the weekend and the lack of one for the rest led to interesting surface wanderings I probably wouldn't have done otherwise, so all was well in the end Thumb Up IP: 86.137.49.72
The Fresh Prince of Portreath

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 28/03/2016 23:04:11
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I buy my undersuits from Bernies and they are AWESOME!!!!

Starless River are excellent. I can't fault the level of customer service, the range of equipment, the level of understanding and just utterly unbeatable service. I can just depend on Tony to get it right and suggest improvements.

All he needs is to stock Landjoff rope bags and I will not need to use another supplier.
IP: 81.140.40.222
Moorebooks

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Bernies Cafe and Caving Shop
Posted: 29/03/2016 22:40:49
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I still stand to lose a shop in spite of its customer service is a sad day.

I did consider purchasing Bernies , however, there are conflicts between running a café and gear shop. I couldn't see where to stick all the book shelves and then hope to keep bacon grease and pint mugs of tea off the said books but would have a proved a great library LaughLaughLaugh. There were other reasons as I don't need to go into here.

On line is all very well but I know from book sales people prefer to see and hold, yes Krabs and petzl stops etc can be ordered on line. However advice for newbies (and Old gits like me) helping set up a full kit often at bargain deals is invaluable. One of the services Steve provided was hire of gear and often surveys, access details and other useful information by word of mouth.

I know Steve was keen to get out and I'm really sorry he wasn't able to sell it as a going concern. Poor experiences in recent times probably reflect that he was selling up and staff were not as supportive as they could have been . I always called in on my way up to Nenthead to buy replacement bits etc. I enjoyed the banter and meeting up with Cavers and Mine explorers there.

Finally Ingleton seems to have lost the gloss it used to have parking never seems a problem nowadays. I sell through the net but shops are the lifeblood of a community and it remains a sad loss

Mike
IP: 82.18.192.90 Edited: 29/03/2016 22:42:42 by Moorebooks
Safety LED Miners Caplamps Moore Books: Specialist Books I.A. Recordings: Mining and Industrial History DVDs Starless River - Caving Store Explore a Disused Welsh Slate Mine
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