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Shopping Around | RETAIL


Ashley Kitchen and Bathroom Design Centre Eastbourne Road


Showroom: Service: Total


A friendly


3 4


7/10 greeting and smile


welcomed visitors to this showroom, and on a busy morning the solitary salesman juggled several groups of customers with charm and ease. Contemporary designs predomi- nated, with a Vitra V-Care shower toilet promising a personal washing experience at the touch of a button. Displays were elegant and stylish, though timber samples stacked in the hall made the doorway to the stairs a bit of a squeeze. There were plenty of cool worktops and chrome radiators. Bathroom bays boasted freestanding baths and sleek


vanity units, with


carefully chosen accessories. This family firm was founded 40


years ago, salesman Barry explained, by his parents, who are still very much hands-on in the business.


Lancashire Bathrooms Eastbank Street


Showroom: Service: Total


3 2


5/10


On a busy shopping street, finding a space in the pay-and-display street parking outside was the first challenge.


But the showroom windows were designed to impress and draw customers in with some striking displays: one mirror was back-lit with green and purple flashing lights. An elegant


claw-foot bath in the


window was accessorised with artificial flowers and ferns. Up thickly carpeted stairs, more mirrors and bathrooms were on display, with a bath intriguingly positioned midway up the stairs. We admired curved vanity units, walk-in showers and eye-catching basins. Back rooms housed tile displays, showcasing textured finishes and bright metallic shades.


The showroom offered a full planning service from design to installation, the


l Impressive displays, decades of experience


salesman explained, with delivery times running at about three months. This family-run business was established in 1987 and its website promised customers the benefit of decades of experience.


While they do 3D computer planning,


in practice customers work with the team to draw up a design and agree a rough cost before full plans are drawn up. Their own subcontractors handle all the installations.


l Busy salesman coped well with several groups of customers


H&J Bathrooms Kingsway


Showroom: Service: Total


2 2


4/10


Lots of sale items on the day we visited, with bathroom items and accessories being sold ‘as seen’ at reduced prices.


to


The showroom was about to move nearby


premises, close to the the


explained – “like moving from a four- bedroom house to a two-bedroom”. Situated


centre salesman


l Could be a good place to hunt for a bargain


of


Southport and with a pay-and-display car park outside, H&J Bathrooms offered customers the benefit of 35 years’ experience.


Flyers on display inside the door promised personal service, either supply-only or with a free home planning service and installation. The team goes out to measure up, the salesman explained, and then delivers in four to five weeks: fitting takes five to


Winner’s profile: Discount Bathrooms


From the friendly greeting to the moment we sat down for a chat after viewing the showroom, we felt totally comfortable here. Proprietor Simon offered us seats, while mentioning that he started this family business in 1979. He now works with his brother and son, who brought us out our coffee.


With a wealth of experience and a calm, confident manner, Simon talked us through the design and installation process and said the firm had 10 fitting teams. Delivery times were around 10 weeks, but with some room for flexibility. “We wouldn’t promise that to get an order and then let you down,” Simon assured us.


Shopping Around winners from 2019 will automatically make the short-list for our Customer Service categories at the kbbreview Retail & Design Awards 2020. www.kbbreview.com/awards for more details.


Visits made March 9, 2019


eight days, depending on the job. The salesman also proffered issue one of the showroom’s own catalogue, filled with glossy pages of shower, bathroom and wet-room solutions in what it advertised itself as the most luxurious but inexpensive showroom in Southport.


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