Each Friday, Furniture News puts five questions to a selected industry professional to explore their background and approach to business. Today, it's the turn of Gareth Price, UK divisional manager of the Lynch Sales Company …
How did you get into the trade?
I started out as a management trainee for Debenhams in the latter part of the last century. Travelling around the country, opening stores, closing stores and doing everything in between. I worked in every department, from the porters’ department to lingerie. It was a great education, a splendid social life, and I spent every penny I ever earned.
What was the turning point in your career?
Moving from a national multiple to an independent company gave me the first inkling that I could really make a positive difference to a business, but it was with Lynch that my eyes really began opening. There is nothing quite like working shoulder-to-shoulder with a store owner, living the event, every day, 24/7. There is immense personal and professional satisfaction when you can deliver exactly what you promise.
How will the industry evolve?
I really do not know, but I am sure that customer service will never go out of fashion. Oh, and great design and quality will always have a market. So I wouldn’t rule out of the growth of some strong regional independents.
How can retailers increase sales and profitability?
In challenging trading conditions it is often the ad budget that gets cut. But to quote Sir John Templeton, pioneer investor in Wall Street: “The best opportunities occurred at times of pessimism.” Keep advertising!
Do you have an amusing industry story to share?
There have been so many – the book will be out in about 10 years. The salesman in Caterham who tried to fax a carpet sample to a customer, selling five grand pianos in a week and not playing a note, or working with assorted Columbians and Argentinians in Kew, when the translator was Indian.
This is an extract from an article published previously in Furniture News magazine. For more stories like this, you can subscribe to receive a regular physical copy of the magazine, or sign up to have a free digital issue delivered to your inbox each month.