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BATHROOM RETAILER PROFILE | Immerse Bathrooms


2.


1. The Whirlpool bath is from Pure. Display on left is by Mere 2. Basin and vanity unit by Roca. Bath from Cubico and WC from Phoenix Balmoral collection 3. Pure by Smiths Briten with tiles from Cubico 4. Sit-on basin and vanity unit – both from Phoenix


1.


I ask McKane what part of the bathroom market Immerse is aiming at.


“All of it,” she replies. “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 a little bit different. I designed the showroom in a way that you have got a mix of products at different price levels, but to the eye, you wouldn’t know which was which. I’ve got branded mixed with non-branded just to show people that we can get something that will look really lovely for whatever budget they’ve got. I want to sell bathrooms to normal people. I class myself in that bracket, too. “I can do a full suite for £299 if you want, but we don’t get a lot of that business. But I can do that and it is a product that is fit for the purpose and that will last.”


Room sets


The showroom itself, which is modern, light and airy, has around 20 displays, most of them showing full room sets. Right as you go in, opposite the reception desk, there are a couple of working displays. “We do the SmarTap smart shower and bath filler,” explains McKane. “You can control it from your phone and a lot of our male customers quite like it because it’s a bit different and it’s affordable. There’s nothing else like it out there. We have that in a working display. Near that is our working 1,900mm x 900mm Phoenix whirlpool bath – so people can experience what they are like and see the colour- changing lights. I have known them for years.” Brands you’ll also find at Immerse include Roca, Burlington,


Geberit, Aqualisa, Phoenix, Yorkshire-


based GRB and tiles from Tyne Tees Ceramics. She adds: “Everybody who has helped me here I have known a long time and so I get good service. I’m not saying it was easy, but it’s easier when you’ve got lots of people, company directors, that you have known for many years. You know you’ll get a good deal and that they’ll help you as much as they can”.


Hill agrees: “We needed someone like Sarah, who has that relationship with all those suppliers. We knew that straight away, which is why Peter [Kindness] said that Sarah was the one. And we have had a lot of suppliers that have really helped us. The showroom displays were a big investment, but Sarah got us the best deals through the people she knew because of that trust she had with them, which made it a lot easier for us to get it going.”


62 4. Like many bathroom showrooms, Immerse


Bathrooms works on a supply-only basis, but uses Hill’s company Premier


Plumbing to carry out


installations. It also has a couple of local fitters that it recommends to customers. But it does offer a design service.


McKane points out: “Because we’ve just opened, we don’t have a full CAD package – I do hand drawings. CAD is quite a large cost, but maybe we’ll invest in that in the future. I go out on home visits and sit and speak to customers so I can make my designs more personal. I don’t want Immerse to feel corporate, I want it to feel family-run, where we have all done it for years. We want people to have a laugh, we want it to be friendly.”


I ask McKane what is selling well so far for Immerse. She tells me that she finds a lot of people are taking out their baths and replacing them either with a walk-in shower with low-level tray or a full wet


room. Wall-hung sanitaryware is selling well, especially to younger buyers, and wall panelling is proving popular for shower areas. Immerse has an exclusive deal with Perform Panel in the area. As for the future, it is early days, but McKane admits Immerse needs to upgrade its website. But the biggest and most immediate development is that they will move in to kitchens shortly. This part of the business will be based across the courtyard in the 1,250sq ft outbuilding. She tells me more: “It’s in the process of being done and is still at an early stage [as we speak at the end of November]. They should be in there by January or February. We have all the electrics in. “You find that a lot of people who are doing their bathroom will also be doing their kitchen at the same time and we just happen to know a kitchen guy who will come in with us. I will work across both showrooms. I am qualified to go out to and measure as I worked in a merchants for years. “We have already sorted some installation teams.


Chris’s Premier Plumbing obviously knows electricians and joiners. Even now, our guy is going out and designing kitchens for customers.” McKane tells me that the shop will be called


Factory Kitchens Warrington and that the kitchens will be supplied exclusively for them in this area from Richmond Furniture in Hadfield.


So, far from resting on their laurels, Chris Hill and his team have a firm game plan, the ball is in play and they seem well on the way to becoming a major fixture in Warrington.


kbbreview · January 2020


3.


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