SME Q3 2018

24 SME NEWS / Q3 2018 , Established in 1991, Ampthill Fireplaces Ltd are a family-run fireplace and stove retailer based out of Bedford. In August, Ampthill Fireplaces were named in the SME Business Elite Awards as the Fireplace & Stove Retailer of the Year. On the back of this well-deserved achievement, we spoke to James Gray, Managing Director of Ampthill Fireplaces, who offered valuable insight into how this company has forged their remarkable reputation in the UK business sphere. Creating the Perfect Hearth and Home Once the beating heart of any residence, the fireplace has become the perfect statement piece, or eco-friendly alternative for those wanting to move one step closer to energy independence. For over twenty-five years, Ampthill Fireplaces has created the perfect centrepieces to any home. On the back of their stellar reputation, and faultless client testimonials, Ampthill has grown to become the premier supplier for fireplaces, stoves and wood burners in East England. First and foremost, Ampthill Fireplaces believe that customer service lies at the very centre of their success, as James emphasises, “customer satisfaction is the number one focus. Reputation is everything.” James believes, fundamentally, that this approach helps to differentiate Ampthill from their competitors; “Our three-story showroom holds an extensive range of displays as well as our customer service from start to finish. We take pride in the fact that we are a full-service business with great quality products. We ensure we keep everything in house – most firms outsource their installations.” Unlike others within the retail sector, Ampthill believe that the key to enduring success lies, not in expansion of their brand, but on staying true to what works – delivering a ‘best-in-class’ experience for their customers. James continues, “We would like to increase market share through digital marketing and increase efficiency. Currently, Ampthill have no plans to open a second showroom.” Moving on, the discussion turns to trends in the industry, and how Ampthill Fireplaces aim to stay on top of emerging developments. “There is a definite shift back towards gas appliances. People expect technology around the home now, and gas fires are soon to be integrated into ‘the smart home’ – controlled at the touch of a button.” Finally, James touches upon the current business environment in the UK; “It isn’t an easy time to own a business in the UK due to all of the uncertainty surrounding “the B word”. Especially as a company selling imported goods. The pound is weak, and all prices seem to be going up at a time when my customers are nervous to spend money.” Nonetheless, Ampthill remains optimistic on the back of their strength in the sector and in their ability to meet and exceed their customer’s expectations. For this, and their remarkable dedication to excellence, Ampthill Fireplaces were named in the SME Business Elite Awards; a testament to their undeniable position as one of the very best retailers in this notoriously competitive industry. For those wanting the perfect showpiece for their home, look no further than Ampthill Fireplaces. 1809SM10