Established in 1972, Reeds has been serving the people of Wantage for 45 years. In 2013 Ian Mead and his wife Fiona took over the family- run hardware store and have transformed the traditional ironmonger into a thriving and forward- thinking retail business, catering to the needs of both local DIYers and professional decorators.


n independent that is arguably punching above its weight, Reeds was shortlisted for Farrow & Ball’s Best

Newcomer Award, reaching the top three for the global accolade. “We were delighted to be considered,” says director Ian Mead, who has also served as a product judge on the DIY Week Awards panel. “We hadn’t realised it was an international award and we couldn’t believe we reached the top three. We were judged by certain criteria including the level of sales, training and product knowledge.”

Never one to shy away from an opportunity, Mr Mead saw the potential to expand the store’s décor offer and opened a


paint shop in the unit next door in 2015, selling premium paint and wallpaper brands. It proved a roaring success and, realising there

12 DIY WEEK 12 MAY 2017

was more mileage in what he could do with Reeds’ decorating offer, Mr Mead took the decision last year to relocate the entire business to a unit twice the size on a retail park in the heart of the town. “You’ve got to keep your business moving forward,” he says. “It all started with the opening of our standalone paint showroom, which went incredibly well. It made us realise there is actually much more potential, so we have moved to have more volume and to broaden our offer.”

The move was a wise one and Reeds is busier than ever, still supported by its loyal trade customer base, made up of professional decorators, carpenters and builders, and also winning new retail business – no doubt helped by increased footfall at the retail park location, which is also home to an Argos store, Sainsburys supermarket and other major retail names. “It’s a much better environment,”

Mr Mead enthuses. “Our new shop is four times the size of what we had originally before the paint shop and still twice the size of that.” The new site is close to a service road, has plenty of parking and is still in the heart of the town. “It just made sense,” he says.

Setting the scene As well as a great location, the new unit provided Reeds with a blank canvas and the extra space it needed to expand its decorating offer and create a fantastic new showroom, transforming the customer shopping experience and enabling them to browse ranges in a more inspirational and relaxed setting. Mr Mead describes


new in-store environment he has created: “It’s a long, thin unit but if you put too much at the front then you wouldn’t draw people in. We have a showroom at the front with wood-effect vinyl, areas

zoned off, colour walls up and a wallpaper bench, as well as some nice ironmongery up on display. We have a counter through at the back where you get to more of the DIY products.”

He continues: “It was important

to create a soft entrance. We thought long and hard about the experience we were creating. We don’t have music at the moment because we wanted to have peace and tranquillity, which works well. However, when there is no one in there it can feel slightly eerie, so we are reviewing that at the moment and may introduce some soft background music.”

Service is an important part of the experience Reeds wants to achieve and, whilst having knowledgeable staff on hand to answer questions and offer guidance is vital to helping retail customers complete a purchase, Mr Mead is also aware that decorating decisions are often

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