EXCLUSIVE: Mereway founders speak out

Bob and Richard Norris from Mereway Bathrooms
Bob and Richard Norris from Mereway Bathrooms

Mereway co-founders Richard and Bob Norris have said that they hope Mereway Kitchens brand “continues to be a force in the market” in a exclusive Q&A with kbbreview.

In the interview below, they reiterate that Mereway Bathrooms, which they still run, is a separate company and is continuing with business as normal.

Last week Mereway Kitchens gave notice to appoint administrators leading to concerned reaction from the industry, however managing director Mark Mills said that it is in the final stages of talks to secure a buyer for the company.

Q: What is the current relationship between Mereway Bathrooms and Mereway Kitchens? They operate as separate companies but is there any crossover in warehousing, manufacturing, logistics, directorships etc that may be affected by the administration/sale?

A: Mereway Bathrooms and Mereway Kitchens are two independent businesses operating from separate factories and have done so since 2004. Although we have always worked collaboratively and look forward to doing so in the future.

Q: Do you think current uncertainty will affect perception of Mereway Bathrooms? Does it damage the brand name?

A: We have acted quickly in order to ensure that the Mereway Kitchens brand continues to be a force in the market. Mereway Kitchens and Mereway Bathrooms have always enjoyed great levels of loyalty and goodwill from their customers and we have been heartened by the reaction and level of support from the customers of Mereway Kitchens. Due to the different markets that each business operates in, the overlap between the two customer bases is not extensive and we expect any impact on Mereway Bathrooms to be minimal.

Q: Why do you think Mereway Kitchens has been through such a difficult time?

A: In recent years the market headwinds have been significant. For example, our energy costs quadruped as a result of the war in Ukraine. The supply chain has also experienced difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and Brexit. The culmination of these crisis has effected Mereway Kitchens’ ability to fund its operations.

Q: As the founders, how do Norris family feel about what’s happening?

A: We have had 37 years in the kitchen industry from the early days of being purely a carcass manufacturer and being at the forefront of innovations such as colour co-ordinated carcasses, a period during which we experienced very rapid growth. The business then went on to supply the John Lewis Partnership and is now its sole supplier of kitchen furniture. We have made many friends in the industry and have enjoyed working with some great characters over the years, and we will of course still be part of the industry for many years to come through our Mereway Bathrooms business.

Q: What is your message to Mereway Bathrooms retail customers?

A: It’s business as usual for Mereway Bathrooms retail customers. We have recently launched our Bathroom Colore modular range which offers 64 different finishes and have also updated our Trend Bathrooms fitted furniture range this month. We continue to work hard on new product development and have many plans for the future.

Q: Did you/would you consider purchasing Mereway Kitchens?

A: Having run the business for 37 years, we look forward to seeing the Mereway Kitchens brand go from strength to strength with new investment and will always be proud of the company that we built.

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