68 Victoria Street, Wolverhampton
Who you need to know
Owners Gerald Bailey (top left) and Carl Peddie (bottom left)
This four-store indie started life in 1988 as a single store, Fusion, rebranding as Diffusion in 1994. Tapping into the music culture of the time, it catered for young fashion shoppers who wanted to look good on the clubbing scene.
With an offer that spans premium denim and contemporary brands for men and women, the customer and the store name may have changed but the ethos remains the same. Director Carl Peddie, who founded the business with co-owner Gerald Bailey, says: “People come to Diffusion to buy clothes that reflect who they are, what they like and, most of all, what is current.”
He is proud of the fact that Diffusion has grown from a two-man operation in a 100 sq ft store to a business that encompasses four stores and an online shop, employing more than 100 people. Diffusion also operates nine G-Star franchises in the West Midlands.
With an established customer base in its heartland and beyond, praise from voters for Diffusion ranged from “stores like this are pretty rare in the Midlands” to “they always seem to have their finger on the pulse”.
While there have been challenges, not least the recent recession, Peddie says: “There are always risky decisions to make. You just have to do what makes sense at the time, while remembering your core values. There is never a clear-cut answer that covers everything.”
The store aims to treat its customers “like family”, with friendly service and touches such as a twice-yearly magazine, email updates and little treats packed into online orders.