As part of our celebration of Independents Day, we interviewed longstanding independent business, Mediworld, trading in Streatham for over 40 years!
Read Mediworld’s story, a family-run medical retailer trading in Streatham for over 40 years!
With Naveed Khan, Director
How long have you been a business in Streatham?
“My parents started the business in 1973 and initially selling surgical instruments to doctors. As these were pre-internet and smartphone days they were often asked about other items and instead of just saying no they would offer to source items for their clients. Slowly and slowly the range of products grew and they started stocking other medical products, then dental, then veterinary, then mobility, then disability and now we have over 2,500 products in our range. In 1985 the company rebranded, adopting the current name Mediworld.”
Who are your customers?
“There’s no other store that we know of in the country that offers both a medical and mobility/disability range so our patrons do sometimes travel up to an hour to reach us. We also supply to care homes, medical schools, laboratories, GP surgeries, private hospitals and clinics as well as schools, colleges and universities all over the UK. We have been approved suppliers to the NHS, United Nations and MoD for over 30 years.”
What does being an independent business mean for you?
“Everything is run from our offices here in Streatham. Despite our global reach we are very much a local business and in terms of services we tend to not stray too far from our doorstep.
Everything is run from our offices here in Streatham. Despite our global reach, we are very much a local business and in terms of services, we tend to not stray too far from our doorstep. Our social media channels are run by local ‘digital mum’ Elaine Paterson, our graphic design work is done by local designer & wildlife artist Susanna Abel, our accounts are handled by a local firm, our insurance broker has his office just around the corner on Greyhound Lane. My parents live a 5-minute walk from the store and I live a 10-minute walk away. I grew up here and attended Crown Lane Primary school; with many, many afternoons and evenings spent playing football (and weather-permitting cricket) with my friends and neighbours on Streatham Common The manufacturers we work with have decades (sometimes centuries) of expertise in their field many of them still have their factories right here in the UK.”
Streatham has changed massively since you started. How has your business been able to adapt to the changes?
“As a business we constantly face threats to our survival. When a large high street chain stock a popular product like a wheelchair and bulk import the cheapest quality at the lowest price, we simply cannot compete with that financially. As an independent business we hold ourselves to a higher level of accountability. We are not just looking at the bottom line or sales figures. We have a duty of care to make sure that anyone who walks through our doors gets the best possible product at the most affordable price – even if it means sending them to a competitor who might specialise in that product or advising them to return to their GP so they do not make an unnecessary purchase.”
Mediworld has grown over the years, in 2002 they moved 5 doors down to a bigger premise as their product range increased and their online store launched five years ago.
“There’s been a real upturn over the last decade with many new independent businesses opening up, especially coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. I personally believe the InStreatham BID team have played a massive role and all of Streatham thanks you for the hard work and great strides you have made. Local residents like Mel Larsen & Pauline Milligan setting up and running community events like the Peace Festival and Food Festival must be applauded. As do Jane Wroe-Wright & Lee Alley for setting up the Heart Streatham magazine from scratch. There are just so many unsung heroes who have selflessly pioneered real positive change in our community and High Street!
Our business rates were increased last year by 34% and we know of other independents on Streatham High Road whose increases were even higher.”
“When you visit your local independent store, please remember that whilst they might be fighting corporate battles with banks, insurance companies, overseas suppliers and even government departments; they see you for the individual you are and will always try their best to make sure your needs are met to the best of their ability.” – Naveed.
It’s not too late to get involved either as a retailer or shopper. You can join in the conversation and connect with others online, using the tag #StreathamIndies and #heartstreathamindies
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