Interview: Dennis Evans on opening his Schmidt Warrington showroom

InterviewFeatures Mon 10th Jun 2024 by Nicola Hanley

Interview: Dennis Evans on opening his Schmidt Warrington showroom

Interview: Dennis Evans on opening his Schmidt Warrington showroom

Feature by Nicola Hanley | Mon 10th Jun 2024

Nicola is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about interiors for 15 years. A former editor of Essential Kitchen & Bathroom Business magazine, she has also worked in PR and is now a freelance writer specialising in kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. More

It's a little over 18 months since director Dennis Evans opened the doors to his new Schmidt Warrington showroom – Nicola Hanley finds out what attracted him to the French manufacturer. 

Dennis Evans is no stranger to retail or franchise operations, having spent a decade building up Coffeepods Ltd, a business that he owned with his wife Kathryn, that ran 6 Costa Coffee outlets in Scotland. In 2016 he sold the company and a couple of years later he turned his attention to kitchens, becoming one of the franchisees of Mobalpa’s Warrington showroom in 2018. That relationship proved fairly short-lived however and within just a few years, Evans was looking for a new kitchen manufacturer to work with.

This loft-style kitchen combines Schmidt’s Murphy wood finish with a bright Marvel colour and black accents

So what attracted him to Mobalpa’s French competitor? "We did our homework and looked at about 15 or 16 different companies that would supply kitchens to us and Schmidt were one of those,” he says. “We like Schmidt for a number of reasons. They’re a huge international brand and sell really good quality product. They’re a family business and they have family values, which align with our values. They understand what it’s like to run your own business. They are not a big corporation even though they’re one of the largest manufacturers of kitchens in Europe.”

The Anthracite Blue print finish is seen here with Blue Berry and gold recesses to create a sophisticated aesthetic

Another reason he opted for Schmidt, which has been sold in the UK since 1986, is the level of support offered by the manufacturer. “They have a huge team here and in terms of actually opening the store, it was seamless. We were able to carry on with our business and we didn’t lose any time even while we were fitting it out. We had a number of people helping us and supporting us with our transition from our previous brand to Schmidt, and they were there all the way from planning through to execution and marketing when we finally opened the store. And that was great because when you’re busy running your own business, you haven’t got time to do these things and it’s nice to have the support of a team like that.”

Living room furniture in a Black Osaka wood finish is showcased with Celest white open display units and Moonstone grey under the TV stand

Despite being very involved in the creation of the store, Evans says that Schmidt, which moved over to a franchise operation in the UK in 2012, didn’t impose any restrictions on its size or layout and let him utilise his entrepreneurial skills. “We worked together on the plan and it went really well,” he recalls. And they helped to minimise Evans’ costs, too. “A store of this size would cost anything up to £300,000 to fit out on its own. We reduced that significantly with the help and support of Schmidt’s dual investment in our showroom.”

This display features Schmidt’s laminate Harvey wood finish alongside the bright Celest colour

Spanning 300sq m, the showroom houses 6 kitchen displays with complementing interior solutions. Appliances from brands including Bora, Neff and AEG, which has already hosted a couple of live cooking demonstrations in the showroom, are on display alongside sinks and taps from Quooker and Blanco with work surfaces from Cosentino.

Schmidt offers furniture solutions for the whole house, including living spaces and bedrooms

Currently Schmidt has 29 franchise showrooms across the UK but is actively looking to double that by 2028. It’s a growth plan that Evans says matches his own. “We really feel we’ve partnered with a brand that shares our ambitions. Schmidt is a forward-looking business and the product has many great USPs. We sell Christian Lacroix doors. I mean who does that in the UK? It’s a phenomenal selling point, a real point of difference.”

Digitally printed decorative finishes include Algae Bloom, created in collaboration with  Christian Lacroix Maison

And what do customers think of Schmidt and the new-look showroom? “They love it,” says Evans. “We’ve put 50% on our average spend since we moved to Schmidt. We can see the difference in the quality of product and the amount of customers and the spend is really good.”

For more information visit Schmidt's franchise page HERE.

Measuring 300sq m, the Schmidt Warrington showroom opened in 2022

Tags: interview, features, schmidt warrington, dennis evans, schmidt

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