Should we move the retail of waterbeds and adjustable beds?
Should we move the retail of waterbeds and adjustable beds from Portsmouth to Chichester? First a brief outline of the business structure.
A short story cut long.
High & Dry Waterbeds had it’s first shop in the Tricorn shopping centre, Some of you may remember it. That was in 1989 twenty two years ago. Electric adjustable beds and nursing care beds were introduced shortly after and so High & Dry Manufacturing Ltd became the umbrella company .
Rather than throwing money away paying rent, High & Dry Waterbeds purchased a retail shop on Milton Road, Portsmouth, and Back Care Beds purchased the shop on Elm Grove, Southsea.
Thirteen years ago we took the decision to merge the two shops for a number of reasons.
Firstly was a severe lack of parking, and as we were so close to Portsmouth football ground, on a weekend when Portsmouth were playing at home parking was almost impossible. This is not good when customers want to spend time trying all the different beds. Secondly, Portsmouth City Council issued planning permission for all businesses in the Milton area of Portsmouth for change of use. On reflection I would say that this was the point at which I realised that the days of the high street shop were numbered. One by one small lock up shop owners around our waterbed shop bit the bullet and cashed in. The shops that had once been the heart of the local community were replaced with blocks of tiny apartments. Well, each apartment has a young couple, and each has their own car, worsening the parking problems. Call it progress or changing with the times, but the move was very good for us. We converted the shop into four flats which give a nice income.
With the adjustable beds and waterbeds now merged in Elm Grove, Southsea and doing rather well, it was time to purchase the freehold for our manufacturing. After a lot of searching we found the perfect property, in the village of Almodington near Chichester, West Sussex. We promptly gutted and practically rebuilt it. Through high efficiency, production times of both waterbeds and adjustable beds reduced significantly. A trade showroom was set up with a range of our most popular waterbeds, adjustable beds and nursing care beds. As sales of adjustable bed mechanisms increased mainly to trade customers it became necessary to establish our own production in Eastern Europe. This is the result of successive British governments over regulating and over taxing small businesses in the UK. It is also a springboard to enable High & Dry Manufacturing to supply into Germany, Italy, France etc.
So now we have our trade showroom at our Chichester workshop. History is beginning to repeat it’s self. Traffic is becoming a nightmare. If you live outside of Portsmouth, it is just as easier to drive to Chichester to see our range of beds and nursing care beds.
We have already been offered very good money to sell the freehold waterbed shop. If we sell the shop now we will be financially very stable with greatly reduced overheads. We have a data base of over eight thousand existing customers. It would be easy to contact them for future business, but what percentage of these customers would not receive the news.
If we do sell now we could lose a lot of business having become the only specialist waterbed and adjustable bed retailer in Portsmouth and Southsea. Despite having been offered very good money to sell, especially in the current financial climate, we have decided not to sell for the time being.
If the situation changes, we will contact all of our customers by post, email and phone.