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Norden Bathrooms, Tiles and Kitchens | RETAILER PROFILE


A Schüller kitchen with Uni Matt cabinetry in onyx black and worktops and splashbacks in Chalet oak effect


Laura Ashley Harwood kitchen in bottle green and chalk white with Radianz worktops


pic visitor from China wreaked havoc on KBB retailing in the UK, it would be all too easy to rest on your laurels. But that is not the Norden way.


W


Norden Heating and Plumbing Supplies is a well-established business with a customer base of more than 400 at its busy trade counter in Epsom and a retail bathroom and kitchen showroom just down the road in Ewell. So you have to admire their move in


January 2020 to relocate their bathroom showroom across the Kingston Road to a new 2,000sq ft showroom – already double the size of the original – that they then further expanded to 5,000sq ft. And for good measure, they bought out an existing tile retailer and added tiles to the mix. But they didn’t stop there. Having planned for some years to make a move into kitchens, Norden set about converting the old bathroom studio


October 2021 ·


hen times get tough, as they did when an unwelcome micro sco-


into a new kitchen showroom, where it would sell Schüller and Next 125 and Symphony and Laura Ashley. I visited the new bathroom and kitchen showrooms to talk to Norden Group MD Dave Norden about how the company has expanded. Norden explains: “It was early in 2019 we realised that we had outgrown the original 1,000sq ft showroom. We could only get three staff in there and so, we started looking around for new premises. “We looked at some in Cheam, but then we found the premises we are in now. We doubled its size from 2,000sq ft to 5,000sq ft. It was expensive to do.


From left: Designers Michael Poulton and Lotty Tuck with showroom manager Doug Jackson


We are immensely proud of what we have achieved. My team works extremely hard and we are increasing our numbers quarterly to cope. The family and the people we employ are the backbone of the business


Dave Norden, managing director, Norden group


The figures were frightening, but we had confidence that it would be OK.” And he was right. He tells kbbreview: “In the original showroom, we were doing between 20 and 30 bathrooms a month – that has doubled now. Here we are doing 50 bathrooms a month and around £300,000.” Of course, 11 weeks later, and just five weeks after they had opened the new kitchen showroom at the end of September, they had to close both as KBB retailers were not deemed to be ‘essential’ businesses.


“And quite right too,” affirms Norden. “To be honest, it was the toughest time of my life. Trying to do the right thing. When we were told we could reopen the trade,


I was nervous about telling my customers to come in and what their reaction would be. So we held back opening. We had to make two redundancies, which was the worst working day of my life. It was extremely unpleasant. They were good people. The family made some sacrifices, too, financially. But thank God for the furlough scheme. It was an awful time, but we are through it.”


Plumbing


Dave Norden set up Norden Heating and Plumbing Supplies in 2006. He had previously worked for plumbing and heating wholesaler and merchant Fry & Pollard, which was acquired in 1984 by his late grandfather, father and brother. It was a very successful company with a turnover of around £22 million and 40 staff. He went to work for them when he turned 16 and stayed on when it was bought out by Tricom. He worked his way up through the ranks and when BSS Group took it over, he became assistant


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