Following on from our article last week about the retailers effected by the planned demolition of Devonshire Street in Sheffield, we have spoken to Peter Bennion, owner of the Natural Bed Company and here we find out a little bit more about what lies ahead for the Sheffield based bed manufacturer and how they hope the The GBE can benefit their business.
What impact has the recent petition to save Devonshire Street had on the Natural Bed Company?
We’ve been really touched by the local support shown for us, Rare & Racy and Syd & Mallory in the past few months. We really are grateful for the kind words of support from our customers and neighbours, and to everyone who signed the petition hoping to keep these units for local, independent retailers.
The Natural Bed Company is planning to move to new premises, was this moved encouraged by the plans to demolish Devonshire Street or has the business organically outgrown its current space?
When we discovered a developer had purchased our premises, we started considering our options and looking around for possible new premises. It seemed likely that the new landlord would want to develop the building and that if we wanted to keep trading locally, without disruption, we would need to relocate.
The one positive aspect is that we are now able to look for larger premises to be able to show more of our range of solid wood beds. We want to assure our customers that we intend to stay in Sheffield and, if possible, near to the Devonshire Quarter which has been home to the Natural Bed Company for over 25 years.
Over 20,000 people signed the petition to save Devonshire Street, people clearly care about independent retailers. What would you say to people to encourage them to buy from their local independent retailers?
Please do continue to support your local, independent retailers!!
By supporting local businesses you will keep a much greater proportion of your spend within the local economy. For example – we employ local craftsmen in our workshops, buy our timber from local merchants and support our local services – and that’s only possible with the support of our local customers.
The Natural Bed Company manufactures beds in a workshop in Sheffield, how appreciative are customers of having something that is made in Britain?
Our customers are very appreciative of buying high quality products made in the UK. Not only do they get a well-crafted piece of furniture, they are helping to keep British manufacturing skills alive
One last thing, would you mind sharing your thoughts on The GBE and what we’re aiming to do?
As a retailer we were thrilled to hear about The Great British Exchange – we prefer to buy from British designers and makers whenever we can. We feel it’s as important to our customers as it is to us, to support British design and manufacturing both for ethical and ecological reasons.
We often look for new suppliers online but, without a UK business-to-business search function, it’s very difficult to find appropriate companies. We are hoping The Great British Exchange will be the answer!