A bold move

Ben Gilks spent his lockdown not just improving areas of his Bristol-based business, but instead completely rebranding and opening new premises. It was a big move to become NE Appliances during such turbulent times, but talking to Jack Cheeseman, he says it’s the best thing he’s ever done!

appliance specialist in the South West embarked on a huge rebranding project - with a new superstore showroom and a brand new website. Nailsea Electrical has become one of the best-


known electrical appliance retailers in the Bristol area since it began trading 38 years ago. After occupying various premises during that time, the company ended up at its flagship 8,000sq ft store on Gloucester Road in the city.

etailers have been through testing times recently. If dealing with the effects of a global pandemic wasn’t enough, one

Ben Gilks took over the business from his father

Pete Gilks back in 2004 at the age of 19. He always had big plans for growth. Then, when the pandemic hit, he took the plunge to expand and re-launch the business as NE Appliances. The first step was going live with a brand new

transactional website to help with the transition of sales, followed by opening an impressive, brand new 15,000sq ft showroom on the outskirts of town. There are 22,000 cars passing by the busy junction outside each day, and it is only six miles from Nailsea Electrical's previous location. “I’m extremely proud of our new store,” says

Ben Gilks. “It’s what I always wanted and I think it will stand the test of time. I had my eye on this building for years and it just so happened that the previous occupier moved out so I snapped it up!” The huge new appliance store opened in May. It

is split over two floors and features over 300 working appliances covering built-in, range cooking and side- by-side refrigeration with general price points ranging from £160 up to £20,000. Plus there’s a full BSH cooking demo area and Live Quooker Tap Zone. But it wasn't an easy project. Refurbishing the whole premises during lockdown with up to 100

people on site threw up a number of hurdles, including a few positive COVID cases which set things back, explains Mr Gilks. “It was tough-going at times, that’s for sure,” he

says. “Everyone was working flat-out for six weeks to get it finished. And I personally unboxed every single product going onto the shopfloor. “My partner had our baby during this time as well,

so things were crazy at home too! I barely saw my son for a whole week just before we opened; things were just so busy, I was leaving home at five in the morning and getting back at 8 o’clock at night. The day we opened the store I was simply running on adrenaline!” All the shopfloor items for the new store were

cherry-picked for their features, style and popularity and there is an area for Best Buys, where five different products are displayed each month which are the same as those promoted on the website. While the ideas for the displays and the

sweeping curves that follow the shape of the building came from Mr Gilks and the design company, Otrovez, it was the job of local company Exhibitions & Displays Direct (EDD) to put the plans into action and refit the building. Mr Gilks invested £900,000 in the new showroom.

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