Two years ago, Ridgeway Interiors joined kitchen and bathroom buying group MHK a decision that has turned out to be instrumental in mapping out the company’s future.
“We’d never been against joining a buying group but, at the same time, had been running a successful business for 12 years and we just hadn’t got round to making the move,” explains Gary Shorne (pictured), showroom manager, Ridgeway Interiors in Gerrards Cross.
“The early period of the pandemic gave us the opportunity to have a really good look at the business and all of our processes and it was then we decided to look past how we’d always operated.”
Shorne says that the proactive approach of the MHK team also helped to get the conversation, about the value of being part of the buying group for independents, flowing.
“The strength of an independent retailer like us is that we know what we know, and we know it very well,” Shorne adds. “Unless it’s broken, you don’t tend to try and fix it. But that can also make it difficult to look beyond what you know. You have no idea how the products you’re selling compare to others and what working with your suppliers is like in comparison to others.
“Becoming a member of MHK gave us access to a huge portfolio of brands and products. But, aside from that, there’s also a wealth of knowledge and experience within the team at MHK and they are always on hand to offer advice. There’s also a helpful community feel among the retail members. All of this just gives us valuable support and reassurance.”
Aside from the expert service and backup and community aspect, there are, as Shorne points out, a number of significant financial benefits to being part of MHK too.
“You have more buying power and influence as part of MHK than you ever would as an independent and that is a huge benefit, particularly in a challenging market,” he explains.
“For any business to survive, you must have good cash flow. That’s not always as easy it sounds when you’re a small independent but, being part of MHK, you not only have access to a large product and brand portfolio, which you also earn rebates on, the real benefit is that you only deal with one supplier – MHK – so you only have one bill to pay. That alone, in my opinion, is worth joining for.”
The Gerrards Cross showroom (pictured left), which opened last month, is Ridgeway’s second studio. Acknowledging that it’s been a challenging few months for the wider industry, Shorne explains how being part of MHK gave them the extra confidence to commit.
“We’d always covered Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire from our Thame site but a second showroom in an affluent area like Gerrards Cross had always been part of the long-term plan,” Shorne says. “Although the market has been more challenging over the last 12 months, we’re busy and doing well so it was still the right time for us.
“Opening a new showroom is a huge commitment, even with the benefit of having a successful one behind us. If I was starting a new business today, I wouldn’t think twice about joining MHK. In this climate where cash flow and opening new accounts can be tricky, it’s a no brainer.”
To find out how to become an MHK partner visit www.mhkgroup.co.uk
or call sales manager David Morris on 07500 595 744
This article is commercial content