[prev] …help you to design your ideal interior.’ After outgrowing various shops in Millfield, the business finally moved out to the current premises on Shrewsbury Avenue. ‘It’s a great location, close to Hampton, and we’re really happy here.’ It’s also purpose-built, which means that friendly, family ethos is reflected in the fabric of the place. It’s bright and spacious, and at its heart is a big curved table around which customers and staff can gather, and samples can be spread out and viewed with ease.
They don’t do hard sells here. And because Ray and Paul have supplied every kind of customer – from Burghley Estates to busy shops – you know you are getting expertise you can rely on
‘We really didn’t want what you so often get at typical carpet stores – piles and piles of rolled carpet and a gloomy desk hidden away somewhere at the back with a reluctant member of staff.’ Here, the staff are at the front of the store, not the back, and there are no signs of reluctance. They have the expertise to answer your questions – but they’ll happily leave you to your own devices, too, if that’s what you prefer. They don’t do hard sells here. And because Ray and Paul have supplied every kind of customer – from Burghley Estates to busy shops – you know you are getting expertise you can rely on.
‘We want people to have a pleasurable buying experience,’ says Paul. ‘And we understand there’s more to the process than simply offering a wide choice. When you need to buy new interiors, it can seem a chore, with a baffling array of possibilities. Most of us don’t want to have to go through hundreds of options to find what we want – and that’s where the experience of our staff comes in. By asking the right questions we can guide you towards the choices that are right for you, whether you’re going all out or on a tight budget. That’s the key difference. You can sit down with us in the store over a coffee or glass of wine, and we’ll take the time to get to know your needs.’ They’ll also bring samples out to your house, if you prefer, and have their own team of trained fitters to ensure everything is carried out to their exacting standards. ‘We also have multi-width options available,’ adds Paul, ‘from 5m to 1m – not just the standard 4m width. That minimises wastage and saves you money, leaving more for you to spend on other aspects of your home.’
‘We’re essentially a one-stop shop for a complete, co-ordinated interior – including furniture packages’
For areas of your home where carpet isn’t suitable – or where you just want a different effect – Ray and Paul stock a wide range of alternative flooring materials, from traditional solid wood and laminates to low-cost vinyl. ‘There are also the new generations of luxury vinyl tiles, such as Amtico, which can faithfully reproduce wood and stone textures whilst presenting the range of options for borders and patterns that only tiles can. They’re ultra-tough and ideal for areas that have hard wear. We use them in our showroom. On the showroom’s first floor – a large mezzanine overlooking the rest of the store – you’ll find the gallery dedicated to curtains and blinds, with all the attendant poles, fabrics and trimmings. All are made to measure in-house within seven days and fitted by Ray and Paul’s own fitters. And for those who want an even more comprehensive service than that, Ray and Paul can provide. ‘We’re essentially a one-stop shop for a complete, co-ordinated interior – including furniture packages. Our Designpaks can actually put everything you need into a home: floor coverings, all the furniture, curtains and blinds, luxury designer bedding, kettle – even a corkscrew!’
While this may not be an obvious choice for a private customer, for commercial clients, it can be a godsend. ‘If you need a show home to really inspire your buyers and show your property to its best advantage, or need to create a turnkey property that is 100% ready to rent or buy from the word go, you can just choose from one of four contemporary themes, and it’s done. Or you can customise them to fit your requirements.’ A full staging pack is also available for show homes, which includes pictures, accessories and even a dummy TV to complete the effect. Property developers – and, consequently, their suppliers and service providers – are usually the first to feel the pinch during a recession, but the diversity of Ray and Paul’s business is such that they were hardly affected at all.
‘Nothing makes us more proud than when customers choose to come back. That shows us we’re doing it right.’
Now, they are busier than ever. Not too busy, however, to put something back. This year sees not only a brand new website, but also a bold project aimed at raising the bar in the industry – and for customers. ‘The general image of carpet fitters across the country is not that good,’ explains Paul. ‘We wanted to do something about that.’ So, in April 2015, Ray & Paul initiated a fast-track apprentice scheme for fitters, with a view to taking on 20 apprentices by Christmas 2015. ‘They’ll all be our own employees, in branded vans, in uniform, and more importantly, they’ll have our attitude – valuing the customers and doing what we know is right. Within 12 months of training, they’ll be out fitting carpet properly – an assurance of quality, and an investment in the future.’ Cynics may argue that those fitters could simply move on, having been trained at Ray and Paul’s expense. But that’s their choice – and Paul and his team seem pretty good at inspiring loyalty. It’s what has built their business, after all. ‘Nothing makes us more proud than when customers choose to come back,’ adds Paul. ‘That shows us we’re doing it right.’
Ray & Paul Interiors Shrewsbury Avenue, Peterborough, PE2 7BX 01733 775533 www.rayandpaul.co.uk
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