Simply Carpets: Family-run flooring firm in Takeley celebrates 30 years in business
A family-run flooring business that prides itself on giving honest advice, quality products and excellent customer service is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Simply Carpets, based at the Takeley Business Centre, began trading on November 2, 1991 and has gone from strength to strength thanks to a friendly approach, combined with expertise, that leaves customers with a smile on their face.
And the friendly team, led by husband and wife Bob and Sally Turner, even includes a four-legged 'head of customer relations' in the form of their seven-and-a-half-year-old cockapoo Billy.
"We're a family-run business and we like to have fun with our customers while providing a professional and informed service. Customer care is our priority," said director Sally.
"We've not really advertised for the last 20 years – it's been about word of mouth and building up repeat customers, which is very rewarding.
"It was the middle of a recession when we started in 1991. Some people thought we were mad and that's perhaps why it was a bit daunting taking out a 21-year lease, but we're still going strong after 30 years."
Bob and Sally, who live in Bishop's Stortford, have been together for 38 years. Bob opened the warehouse on the Dunmow Road site three decades ago as he wanted to be his own boss, having previously worked for London Road Carpet Warehouse in Harlow.
He began working with business partner Martin Clarke – who is no longer involved – with Sally and Martin's wife Lisa managing the accounts together. Sally continued to work as an accountant for publishing house Faber & Faber as the business took off.
During their time in business, Bob and Sally have also operated Simply Rugs, from a shop in The Dells in Stortford town centre, and Purely Pine upstairs in their Takeley warehouse.
In 2004, Bob suffered a heart attack and was joined by his son Anthony in the business along with Wesley Eldred, the son of Sally's lifelong friend Mark Eldred, who himself joined Simply Carpets two years ago.
Anthony and Mark are now the faces of the business, with Bob taking more of a back seat. Anthony has an extensive knowledge of the industry and a quiet, calm approach that customers appreciate, while Mark's retail background and "superhuman strength" has made him indispensable in running the warehouse.
The team is completed by Deb Challis, who arrived at Simply Carpets in 2015 and is the voice of the business, helping customers on the end of the phone as well as looking after all administrative sides of the company.
"A small, family-run business will always give you a better deal and better after-sale service," said Bob.
Simply Carpets has a wide range of stock carpets and thousands of samples from most leading manufacturers. It also provides many types of wood flooring, expertly fitted.
There are also thousands of sheet vinyls to choose from and vinyl tiled flooring from all major suppliers, while Simply Carpets is also the largest stockist of handmade rugs in the area.
A visit to the warehouse will guarantee you a friendly chat to discuss your flooring needs over a cuppa – and not forgetting a warm welcome and a wagging tail from Billy the cockapoo.
"We're like a family and, because that's our approach, we're all working for the same end," said Sally. "We want our customers to come back for life because we're providing a good service."
* Simply Carpets is at Unit 1, Takeley Business Centre, Dunmow Road, Takeley. See www.simplycarpetsltd.com or call 01279 870008 to find out more.