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TRAGO MILLS ---------------------- After my review on Trago Mills (Liskeard) I have decided to write about my favourite store of the three (liskeard, Newton Abbot and Falmouth). After the initial debate about whether we wanted a shopping trip down Cornwall or to Exeter and Torquay we could work out which store we really wanted to visit.
In case you have not read the 'Trago Mills Liskeard' review I will give a brief introduction to the history of Trago. Trago Mills started out in the 1960's as a small shed in Liskeard, South East Cornwall. The founder Mike Robertson bought a selection of items 'up country' and sold them in this shed. The store was designed to sell cheap, affordable products to the locals of Cornwall. Mike Robertson is a well known supporter and has broken many trading laws in the past by insisting to open on Sundays and ignore the metric ruling. The two stores in Newton Abbot, Devon and Falmouth, Cornwall were opened shortly after.
The stores are now owned by local businessman Bruce Robertson son of Mike Robertson. Their connection to anti-EU policies has resulted in 'alleged attacks' on the stores. In 2004 the store went up in flames and has now been completely rebuilt. In the beginning the fire was linked to arson possibly due to the extreme beliefs of Mike and Bruce Robertson, but was later ruled out as an electrical fault. Still it has resulted in the comical nickname 'Trago Grills'.
THE STORE ------------------ The store at Newton Abbot is situated in 100 acres of the South Devon countryside. The Trago Mills store at Newton Abbot is slightly larger than the two stores in Cornwall. It is relatively easy to get to and is situated between Liverton and Heathfield on the A38.
The store is a great place for tourists as the miniature steam railway allows customers the opportunity to view the nearby rolling hills and beautiful wooded views. In fact the whole shopping experience at the Newton Abbot store is more enjoyable with fairground rides, Edwardian penny arcade, steam railway and much more.
As a child I loved hearing the words 'Trago Mills' and 'Newton Abbot' now I have grown up slightly I would rather shop at Liskeard. When I was a lot younger however the fairground used to be a great feature for me as a child. I can remember racing my sister on the go-karts pretending I was Nigel Mansel. The bumper boats, circus tent and Edwardian.
In my opinion, the layout of the Newton Abbot complex compared to the store at Liskeard appears more cluttered. Since it was rebuilt after the fire in 2004 I haven't felt the same way about the store. The book section is a lot smaller and far more cramped than that of Liskeard. Have found on a few occasions that books I could get a Liskeard I cannot get in Newton Abbot. It did used to be the other way however with Newton Abbot being the stronger of the two.
There is also that problem with queuing at checkouts. I rarely have to wait longer than 5-10 minutes at the Liskeard store however in Newton Abbot I have sometimes been waiting for 20 minutes to be served.
PRODUCTS AND PRICES ------------------------------------ The products and the prices are identical to those at Liskeard and Falmouth.
►Bunk Bed - £69.99 (Argos £119.99) ►Leather Boots - £19.99 (Clarks £60) ►Ainsley Harriet Book - £2.95 (Waterstones £8.99) ►Stickers 59p (Ham and Sewell £1.99) ►Fimo Clay 99p (Ham and Sewell £1.79) ►Hamster Cage £9.99 (Local Pet store £22.99) ►Hamster bedding 79p (Wilkinsons 99p)
The above prices are just a quick reference guide so that you can compare the prices.
The only noticeable difference is that local souvenirs such as flags, books, ornaments and fudge are different (being a different County). In Cornwall (Liskeard and Falmouth) there is a lot of emphasis placed on Cornish traditions such as Trelawny, pasties and the flag of St. Piran. In Newton Abbot you can expect to see a small dedication to the local football team (Plymouth Argyle) through green and white flags, books and memorabilia.
The garden centre is situated opposite the main store and again although part of the store is less convenient as products from the garden centre cannot be purchase din the main store resulting in two shopping trips rather than the 'all under one roof' style at Liskeard.
STAFF --------- Unfortunately the staff at Newton Abbot seem to be less polite than the staff at Liskeard. On our last visit we encountered 4 out of 5 members of staff who were rather 'short' and did not smile at all. In all my visits to Liskeard I have met 2-3 rude members of staff the rest have been quite polite.
The staff are very knowledgeable and if you need something they are willing to point you in the right direction. It is always best however to ask an assistant on a particular department any 'specialised' questions, as the staff know very little about other departments, e.g. a member of staff on the sports department will know little about stationary.
PAYING ------------ Debit cards and credit cards can only be used when the total purchase is over £10. The store also accepts cheques, gift vouchers and cash. The queues at the Newton Abbot store can get very busy, the queuing system also results in people pushing in and queue jumping, so can get a bit ugly.
Bags are also charged at 2p for a small carrier or 5p for a large carrier. It is therefore advisable that you take your own bag.
SUMMARY ----------------- Overall Trago Mills Newton Abbot is a great family day out if you plan to spend some time in the arcade, adventure playground or on the rides. Compared to Liskeard however I feel it lacks the shopping experience. If you plan to visit Devon or Somerset Trago Mills Newton Abbot is a reasonable distance for a day out.