Furniture store is re-branded
THE recession shows no signs of unsettling a successful Barnstaple business that s still sitting comfortably after more than 17 years at the top. Since 1992, the family-owned and run Furniture Warehouse has made a real name for itself with a massive range
THE recession shows no signs of unsettling a successful Barnstaple business that's still sitting comfortably after more than 17 years at the top.
Since 1992, the family-owned and run Furniture Warehouse has made a real name for itself with a massive range of quality contemporary and traditional furniture items at low prices.
Owner Mark Ward has seen his business gradually evolve since it began life in Mill Road as Mark and Graham's Furniture Warehouse.
By the time the store had moved to its current location in Howard Avenue, Whiddon Valley, in 2002, the firm had expanded to a further six superstores throughout the South West.
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In 2005, Mark decided to sell the business, while retaining the 10,000sq ft flagship Barnstaple store.
Now the store has been re-branded as FW Home Stores and Mark and his team look set to dominate the market once more with new stores opening in Newport, in Wales, and in Stoke-on-Trent.
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"We've decided to re-brand Furniture Warehouse as FW Home Stores to reflect the way the business has evolved over the years," Mark told the Gazette. "In the early days, the store was very much a warehouse environment but today, we offer so much more.
"While we still continue to offer quality and value, customers will find our stores have a much more luxurious and contemporary feel."
Mark said that the key to offering customers high quality furniture at low prices was down to the strong relationships he had built up with suppliers over the years.
"I have always kept really close ties with the manufacturers and am constantly talking to suppliers about the product, many of which are designed exclusively for us.
"Our success is also down to the people that we employ; they are very experienced and know what they are talking about."
Mark - also a partner of Oak Loft furniture stores in Exeter and Torquay; the Devon Bed Centre in Exeter; and the Bed Shed in Taunton and Stoke-on-Trent - has recently celebrated the sale of memory foam bed specialists Sleepright to Carpetright.
Having developed the brand and introduced around 100 concessions in stores around the country in just under two years, he is well aware of the possibilities that lie ahead in the future.
"We are looking ahead to more success in the future. Despite the current economic situation, we've remained steady and haven't really seen any downturn as such.
"We're lucky as we don't have any massive tiers of management. We're not over-stretched and our teams run each business like they would their own shop.
"Barnstaple is a fantastic town for independent traders - not only for us.