3 May 2013
After weeks of preparation and more than a few late nights to get everything in place our new showroom at Greengates in West Yorkshire opened to the public on the 27th April, with the Lord Mayor of Bradford attending to officially cut the ribbon. Part of the converted Albion Mill complex, the space offers around 3,000 square foot on one level to show off our beautiful furniture and Chinese antiques, with a similar amount of space in the basement for warehousing.
The opening weekend started with a champagne reception on the Friday evening, attended by many of our local customers. Many thanks to all those who joined us for this pre-launch event – it was great to see so many familiar faces from over the years as well as a few new ones who had not visited us before in our previous premises. It was also lovely to hear so many positive comments about the fantastic new setting for our collection.
The Lord Mayor arrived on Saturday afternoon to cut a red ribbon (as well as a ‘Shimu’ cake) and declare the new showroom open. He and the Lady Mayoress also kindly judged our competition for children from two of the local schools, Thorpe and Parkland Primaries, many of whom also came with their parents for the opening. The children had drawn or created models of animals that are important in Chinese culture, and it was a hard task to choose from the many brightly coloured dragons, fish, snakes and other animals that adorned our walls over the opening weekend. Congratulations again to the winners Alicia Pollard, Ola Durlik and Kitty Townend.
The space here in our new showroom, with its industrial heritage, has wonderful high ceilings and provides a light, airy environment for our furniture. While we were sad to leave our premises in Saltaire after five great years, we are really excited about our new home now that we are fully up and running. The much larger space – over twice as much for display than we had in Saltaire – means that we can now show much of our handcrafted furniture in room settings to better show how it would fit into a modern home. We can also show far more of our current antique collection, rather than having the vast majority of pieces packed up in our warehouse.
Also key to us choosing Albion Mills as our new home was the fact that were able to bring our showroom and warehouse under one roof. This has huge advantages for us in terms of logistics but also means we can offer a better service to customers visiting the showroom – particularly the large numbers who make a significant journey to see us. Now if a particular piece of furniture is not on the showroom floor then it will almost certainly be downstairs in our warehouse, so it can be brought up and unpacked for viewing. This is especially important for our Chinese antique pieces as, with well over two hundred antiques available at any one time, we simply don’t have room to show the full collection on our showroom floor even in this much larger space.
Over the next couple of months we will be moving the remaining furniture from our old warehouse to the new premises, until everything is either here or close by. It may be that we need some additional storage space elsewhere but our intention is to house certainly all of our antique collection here so that any item can be viewed on request.
If you’ve not yet made the trip to the new showroom then plan a visit soon. If you are coming from a distance and there is something you particularly want to see then give us a call beforehand and we’ll make sure this is ready for you to view, along with a coffee and a warm welcome.