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Marking it’s 13th year in business – and its 10th year in franchising – Dream Doors has just launched three new showrooms, all opening their doors in a short two-week period. Now, with outlets stretching along the south coast from Eastbourne to Exeter and as far north as Newcastle and Morecambe, Dream Doors is, by some distance, the UK’s largest kitchen facelift retailer.
Two out of the three new showrooms are in coastal areas, filling a gap in the south that is heavily populated by Dream Doors’ core customer base of over 60s retirees. The Hailsham franchise serves customers from Eastbourne to Brighton while the Worthing showroom picks up customers from Hove through to Chichester. The third new showroom, located between Guildford and Woking in suburban Surrey, is run by newcomers to both Dream Doors and the UK, Gary and Hayley Ashe.
Emigrating from South Africa to the UK in June last year, the couple had found rented accommodation, schools for their two young daughters and embarked on a new business venture within six weeks of landing at Heathrow. Six months later, they and their daughters are settled, and they have a business that has generated £80,000 of sales in the last four weeks.
“It’s been incredible, but not without its fair share of stress,” says Hayley. “We’re so busy right now, busier than we’ve ever been, and Gary is really positive as every other appointment is leading to a sale! We couldn’t have done it without all the help from head office, and from all our neighbouring franchisees. There’s real warmth within Dream Doors, with no competition between franchisees and genuine support from everyone. And we, probably more than others, have really needed that.”
Seamus and Kate Hackett, who opened their showroom in Hailsham on a Friday 13th, have had some good fortune in the last few months. Finding a high-street location, an experienced fitter, and securing the mayor to cut the ribbon has helped them successfully launch their business. But despite the couple being experienced business owners in their own right, including running coffee kiosks on some of London’s busiest underground stations, nothing prepared them for the pace at which their business took off once the public learned about their showroom opening.
Says Seamus: “It’s gone mad in the last few weeks. As soon as people saw the showroom they’ve been flocking in, and we’ve been getting interest in high order value full kitchens, not just facelifts. That’s where we’re going to need some help though, as we’re not full kitchen experts. Well not yet anyway. But that’s what’s great about a franchise, as you certainly aren’t on your own with Dream Doors. The support has been fantastic, exactly what was promised at the beginning. It’s a steep learning curve, but I don’t regret doing this for an instant.”
The third of the new showrooms to open is operated by ex-store manager, Mark Wilks. Located in Worthing, it closes the last remaining territory on the south coast and is just a few miles from Dream Doors own base in Gosport where the brand’s founder and managing director, Troy Tappenden, sold his first kitchen makeover back in 1999. Since then the business has grown to become a network of almost 50 franchisees with annual sales of more than £10 million.
“These are the proudest moments for me,” says Tappenden, “and I will not stop until there is a Dream Doors franchise in every postcode in the UK. What a great advert for franchising too, as there aren’t many businesses growing these days, and especially in the retail sector.”
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