Monaghan man’s Willesden business gets The Apprentice experience

BBC footage from last night’s episode

The Apprentice visited a well-known Willesden premises in their latest challenge set by Sir Alan sugar last night.

Declan Harkin who runs Willesden Salvage, a landmark on the High Road for over 70 years, featured in last night’s show as the contestants haggled with him as part of their treasure hunt.

Declan Harkin at his Willesden Salvage yard
Declan Harkin at his Willesden Salvage yard

The contestants’ challenge was to retrieve the nine items on a list for the best possible price to test their negotiating skills.

When tasked with sourcing a Belfast sink both teams were led to the Ballybay native’s yard. Harkin sells antique and vintage items, from fireplaces to doors and lights to brass ornaments, from his yard with his wife managing the adjoining shop full of homeware goods.

“I suppose there’s not many places like this left in London anymore,” he told the Irish World.

“I’ve had a load of messages on Facebook from people who caught it on the telly last night, and I watched it on the iPlayer as I didn’t know when it was going out.

“It was filmed way back in February, and it seems so different on TV. They had called a week before they came in and were here a good while on the day.”

Mark and Katie arrived first and negotiated their sink for £75, pleading with the businessman not to give a better price to their rivals.

“When the other team, Bianca and Solomon, turned up they asked for the cheapest they could get even if it meant compromising on the quality.

“I sold them a second sink for £60, but it had a chip in it and no taps so that was fine by me.”

Edited out of last night’s programme was an error by Solomon. Also on their treasure list was a metre of double braided rope.

“They were looking for rope and I said I had a load of it out the back. When I showed it to Solomon he said he had been mountaineering for years and what I had was definitely not double braided!”

And what did Declan make of the contestants?

Premises on Willesden High Road
Premises on Willesden High Road

“Bianca seemed a bit full of it. She arrived as I was with the other team and spoke to my son outside saying she needed to speak to me immediately.

“He explained that I was with other customers – and on camera – but she wasn’t having any of it. But I suppose that’s the competitive nature of the show.

“I’d like for Katie, the one from Sunderland, to win. Although she doesn’t have the experience of the rest of the contestants she’s down to earth and gets as stuck in as anyone.

“She seems a bit more normal as well. Like she could get on with people. You get the impression from the rest of them that if you were ever in a pub with them that they would just be interested in themselves.

“A bit like that Kendra one from I’m A Celebrity… I think the other night Edwina Currie picked up that every one of her sentences start with ‘I’ or ‘Me’ and that seems a lot like the rest of the Apprentice lot.”

Last night saw Dubliner Roisin Hogan haggle down a salesman to just £50 for a diamond, whereas her opposite team member Daniel only managed to secure one for £175.

“It was funny watching it as you could see the real salesman was dealing with Daniel. He was working professionally and saying that his low offer was nearly offensive and he was wasting his time.

Roisin Hogan
Roisin Hogan

“But the one Roisin got was probably of a lower quality, the other team just went to the wrong man!”

The rest of Roisin’s team let her down though and after a fine for missing the deadline and a kosher chicken from the list they spent more than their rivals. Clocking in a total of £483.97 for their eight items, their final score was £644.97.

The other team bought their nine items for £347.59, but were fined £62 for getting the wrong sized rope.

However, a cunning plan from Daniel and Felipe backfired after their paper skeleton was not deemed suitable and they suffered a £310 fine, handing the victory to Roisin’s team. Felipe was subsequently fired after a tense board room exchange, with Daniel surviving yet another experience in the bottom 3.

The Apprentice continues on BBC One on Wednesday evenings, and last night’s episode can be caught on the iPlayer here.

For more on Willesden Salvage see next week’s edition of the Irish World.



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