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Immerse Bathrooms | BATHROOM RETAILER PROFILE


Immerse Bathrooms was a great ‘try’ and that the showroom’s ‘conversion’ rate is bound to be good, you’ll probably guess that the man I am meeting is not only a director of this new venture, but also a professional rugby player. In fact, Hill is co-captain of the Warrington Wolves rugby league team and an international player for England and Great Britain.


A Kbbreview first read of Immerse Bathrooms on its


local newspaper’s website and we were curious to learn more about this new business venture between two high-profile sportsmen.


Hill is a well-known local figure in Warrington and has teamed up with athlete Iwan Thomas to set up this new bathroom showroom. Thomas is a Welsh sprinter who has competed in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games for Great Britain, has won many Commonwealth and European titles and is still the British record holder over 400m.


Since he retired in 2006, Thomas has built a


career in TV and radio, currently hosting a regular weekly spot on Love Sport Radio on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings. He has also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing, Celebrity Masterchef, Through the Keyhole and is a co-presenter on BT Sport’s MotoGP Tonight.


A mutual acquaintance brought the pair together for this venture, but it is slightly complicated... Hill also runs another local company called Premier Plumbing. He explains: “When I joined Warrington in 2012, I went to night school to do plumbing – just to get something for after rugby. That’s where I met


January 2020 · kbbreview


s I shake Chris Hill’s hand, his stature and iron grip give away his sporting background. If I say that opening


Christian. We did it for three years.”


Christian Froggatt and Hill are 25% partners in Immerse Bathrooms. Iwan Thomas also owns 25%. Thomas is also involved in a business called Run400 Distribution, which imports from the Netherlands the Easy Drain (ESS) products that Immerse sells. Thomas’s partner in Run400 is Peter Kindness, who has a long history in the trade. Hill also knows Kindness as he used to be a sponsor for Warrington Wolves. Kindness has the final 25% stake in Immerse. So how did it come about?


Hill elaborates: “I have known Peter for quite a few years and we’d been talking about this probably for around two years. Premier Plumbing had bought wet boards and EasyDrain products from him at Run400. It was an ideal fit – us all coming together. Peter and Iwan had also been friends for a long time.”


Commitment


Hill, being local, devotes as much time to Immerse has his rugby commitments allow, but Iwan, based around Southampton, cannot be there as much because of his TV and radio work, but flies up for a couple of days every six weeks or so. The premises they found are situated on the busy Cockhedge roundabout on the main A49 and give them a high-visibility location. The main showroom offers 2,500sq ft of space, while the adjacent outbuilding offers an extra 1,250sq ft. Hill tells me how they discovered it: “I’d seen it as I was driving around. This was a good size and a good layout for what we wanted to do. If you go for somewhere too small, everything looks too cluttered. There’s a big window at the front that gives us lots of daylight and the location is good, right on this


I want to supply a bathroom to everybody that wants a bathroom.


From people who haven’t got a lot of money to people who want something different. I want to sell bathrooms to normal people


massive roundabout. It was a bit of a wreck and it needed a lot of work doing to it. Sarah came up with all the designs for the showroom and the displays.” Director of showrooms Sarah McKane is also a crucial part of the Immerse Bathrooms team. Hill found her through Peter Kindness.


McKane explains: “I know Peter through the bathroom industry. Peter used to work for Wedi [wet room boards]. I was one of Peter’s customers and we got on really well and when this [Immerse] was coming up, he knew I had done similar things in the past, so he asked me to come and have a look at the building. I met the lads. I told them what I thought I could do with it and the rest is history.” Hill acknowledges the importance of McKane: “Sarah runs Immerse Bathrooms single-handedly, really. I am more hands-on with the plumbing.” McKane is backed up by the final member of the Immerse team, Sharon. She helps out on reception and bookkeeping.


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