Retailers happy to be reopening their showrooms

Retailers are delighted at being able to open their doors again to customers in England after being forced to close for over three months.

Kbbreview went to its trusted group of KBB retailers, the kbbreview100, to get their views on English showrooms reopening on April 12.

Paul Ballantyne, owner of Andover Bathroom Collection, said: “It is fantastic news, time to get back to it!” while Trevor Scott, chief executive of Rugby Fitted Kitchens said he was relieved finally to be able to open the showroom again.

Joe Mühl, managing director of contracts of Ocean Bathrooms in Dorset and London, said: “We are glad to be going back to some normality and start working with clients on a physical basis.”

Anne Deacon, director a Russ Deacon Home Improvements in Eastbourne, is pleased to be back in the showroom. She said: “It will be good to open our doors send turn on the lights on.”

Another retailer excited to open up to the public again is Kate Holderness, owner of Urban Kitchens in Preston. She said: “I can’t wait! Think it’s time the independent retailer got a crack at the whip! Even though we’ve still be in touch with clients online and through click-and-collect services, actually sitting down face-to-face and showcasing our products is still the best way to do business and nothing beats meeting our clients in person.”

There is still an air of caution as every retailer works to create a safe space for their staff and customers. Many retailers are opening their showrooms by appointment only and increasing levels of cleanliness throughout the showroom. [link to other story]

Gemma Casement, marketing and HR director of Lanzet Kitchens in Liverpool, said: “We are really excited about the showroom opening and being able to welcome customers in – albeit in a safe and responsible way. We have become adept online consumers, but nothing beats seeing the displays in the flesh and being able to see the patterns and textures of the surfaces.”

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Elizabeth Pantling-Jones. MD of Lima Kitchens in Milton Keynes, has some practical concerns, as cleaning the showroom could interfere with the general running of the business, as it requires more work from herself and her staff.

She said: “Honestly, I am a little conflicted. I am really excited to be able to welcome clients back in and utilise our showroom as intended. However, I am also a little apprehensive as there are so many people looking to carry out home improvements.

“We feel that showroom visits require careful management. With additional cleaning procedures, management of how many people can be in the showroom to maintain social distancing, and keeping a safe space for our team and clients, showroom visits could easily become a dominant part of the day. This could impact the day-to-day operations of projects that are already under way along with our ability to service each lead to the level we strive for. “

She also explained that due to the lockdown and the changed nature of the KBB retail, home working and virtual appointments will still be an option. She said: “I do not imagine we will return to being in the showroom full-time. This increased flexibility has been great for staff well-being. It has also offered our clients the same flexibility with virtual appointments being offered out of hours where required. We anticipate each of us working two days a week remotely.”

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