KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-news - since 2002
23rd March 2018
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Bill Miller’s message to independent retailers (see below) struck a chord with me, especially at the part where he says consumers believe that buying from one of the major chains will mean they get more for their pound.
I needed to replace my 20 year old sofas recently and although I’m not fabulously wealthy, my first port of call was House of Reeves, the 148-year old, family run independent I’d bought them from. After all, the sofas had lasted really well – they’d also been affordable and I could remember having received great service first time around. Plus – bearing in mind the store came to symbolise the Croydon riots in 2011, with one of its two adjacent showrooms being destroyed by fire, I felt it deserved as much business as it could get simply for having refused to be beaten – if of course it had what I wanted and if the price was right.
It didn’t surprise me that I was looked after by the same salesman (who of course didn’t remember me or my daughter, who’s now grown up). I remembered him because I’d been looked after so well last time. We chose our sofas but when we returned with my other daughter the following day and she didn’t find them comfortable, we moved our search to the myriad of big stores around Croydon’s enormous retail parks.
Yes – there was a lot we liked, but price-wise, nothing we liked was nearly as affordable as our Reeves favourite. Also, because the stores themselves were busier, the staff were juggling us with other customers, which meant they sometimes muddled our requirements with those of the other shoppers, and when they hurried back to us, took us to sofas that weren’t going to be suitable.
So it was back to Reeves a third time, where we were advised that material would make our sofas less stiff than the leather version on display – and thus more comfy for my hard-to-please daughter. Deal done. The fact that we’ve even met and had a chat with the delivery team and even know how the pair take their tea, has given us every confidence that the service received so far will continue. Where else could you build that relationship other than with an independent, I wonder?
30th October 2015