The new owner of Alno fitted kitchens told kbbreview that it is on the cusp of recruiting a new team to help rebuild the business in the UK.
The news was announced in an exclusive interview with kbbreview at Halcyon’s Wigmore Street showroom.
Halcyon, which has three showrooms, was the first UK dealer to take back the brand after Alno AG collapsed into administration in 2017, strangled by hundreds of millions of euros of debt.
In its second year of trading under the new company, wholly owned by European investment firm RiverRock, the new management team are keen to win back former Alno dealers as well as new business with a message that the “household name” in Germany is very much here for good this time, producing even better quality kitchens and more customer-oriented than ever before.
Jason Carley (pictured right), a portfolio manager at RiverRock and chairman of the supervisory board of Neue Alno, said: “We have a much simpler business now. We just have the Alno brand, and the Pfullendorf factory and as a result, we can be more responsive to requests from our dealers.”
Michael Spadinger (pictured top), Neue Alno’s new head of global sales, added: “We can make decisions much faster now and we can bring out new things when the market demands it. We are not creating for trade shows.
“We are no longer waiting for specific days or events. We are much closer now to the markets we work with. We are working much closer with our retailers. That’s probably the biggest difference to how the business operated before.
“There is much more communication between our retailers and us. It’s more like a partnership now. We develop the product together with our partners.”
According to Alno’s UK website, apart from Halcyon, 13 KBB retailers are currently listed as retail partners.
These include Diane Berry Kitchens in Manchester, who had been a solus Alno dealer for many years when the old company suddenly stopped production and the owner, Diane Berry, had to quickly convert more than 40 orders to another brand.
Spadinger said the company was currently recruiting for the UK team and was in talks with a senior industry figure currently working for a competitor to head it up.
Eventually, the team will be made up of three appointments who will cover the north, south and central parts of the UK.
As for Brexit, Spadinger shrugged off any interruption that may or may not occur as a result, claiming to have the quickest production and delivery times now in the kitchen market.
He added that UK retail partners that the brand wants to work with will not be worried by Brexit.
“We are looking to work with professionals who have been in the business a long time and want to invest in their businesses. The answer to any potential so-called crisis is move faster than your competitors. Do a good job, and customers will recommend you.”
• Find out more about Alno’s plans for the UK from the brand’s senior management team in the May issue of kbbreview