18 April 2024, 01:58
By Furniture News Aug 23, 2016

70 years of family values at Cookes

Cookes Furniture has been a stalwart of Sutton Coldfield since 1946, with the popular furniture retailer having furnished homes across the Midlands for seven decades now. Victoria Noakes spoke to marketing director Vanessa Hoe, daughter of chairman Graham Cooke, to uncover more about the business ...

After being demobbed from the Navy at the end of the Second World War, Cookes Furniture founder Edward Cooke established a lending library in the heart of Birmingham, which soon expanded into supplying soft furnishings and carpets, due to post-war demand. This demand, coupled with a loyal customer following, led to Edward and his son Graham buying an old Post Office in Sutton Coldfield in 1971 and converting it into a fitted showroom, where Cooke & Son Furniture was born.

Edward expanded his range to include a wealth of brand name furniture, and before long, the company was known for its personal service. By the start of the 1980s, the business had outgrown the premises and purchased a three-acre sire on Goosemoor Lane – the current home of Cookes Furniture.

The company now has a store in Dorset in addition to its Birmingham base, and employs over 100 members of staff. The Birmingham store features over 85,000ft² of furniture, and is also home to Edward’s Restaurant – a premium British dining experience seating up to 80 – creating an all-round home shopping experience. Cookes’ Christchurch store offers a similar range of high-quality branded furniture set over 25,000ft² of floor space.

“The business is now in its third generation – me and my sisters Michelle and Jennifer joined the company after completing business degrees. It’s quite a family affair, with Michelle’s husband James Pike in the role of managing director, and Jennifer’s husband Andrew Davies as logistics director!,” says Vanessa.

“Across our two stores and online, Cookes stocks thousands of classic and contemporary products for the home, including sofas, beds, tables, chairs and dining sets, plus a wide range of lighting and accessories like rugs, mirrors, clocks, pictures and decorative items. The most recent large addition to the Cookes product offer is a range of children’s furniture. Our buyers travel the world to bring our customers a huge choice of styles from trusted brands.”

G Plan, Stressless, Natuzzi and Tempur are just a few of the world-class names visitors will recognise in store. Others include Duresta, Alexander & James, G Plan Upholstery, Himolla, ercol, Hypnos, Vispring and Sealy, plus many more.

Cookes’ aim is to be ahead of the market place, and as it is a three-generation family company, its goal is to offer furniture suitable for three generations within families. Larger, quality pieces of furniture that make a statement in the home have always been popular with Cookes customers, but recently the retailer has seen an increase in consumer interest in smaller, more everyday products for the home such as decorative accessories, clocks, lights and mirrors.

Cookes is a company driven and inspired by the customer – the business has been developed over the years in line with changing consumer behaviours and evolving customer needs.

The retailer works constantly to provide its customers with a great in-store experience, to deliver a high level of customer service and offer quality craftsmanship, impressive value and striking, stylish furniture. This service stretches right through to delivery and aftercare.

“In recent years we’ve also invested in our online presence, launching an online shop that allows our customers to browse our ranges from their own homes, purchasing online if they want to. We’re addressing the expanded choice consumers have as more and more furniture retail businesses compete for their business online,” states Vanessa.

“A lot of our customers enter our stores having already done some research online, but they continue to visit the store as they like to see the products in person and enjoy their interactions with our in-store team. We find there’s still a big value in creating a variety of roomsets as the online experience just doesn’t compare to a physical visit, where you can explore new trends, discover new styles and find the perfect furniture and accesories to suit your home.”

The past year has been a positive and successful one for Cookes. With this year marking the retailer’s 70th anniversary, Cookes has been involved in a series of fundraising events including the entry of a team of 70 in the Great Midlands Fun Run, plus it has launched initiatives such as its first customer loyalty scheme and a TV advert. The retailer aims to continue this momentum moving forward.

Vanessa concludes: “We will carry on adapting to our customers’ needs as well as developing new ways to enhance our in-store experience in the future – after all, our customers are our primary focus. We’re also continuing to expand the storage service of the business which is thriving, and extending the offering to house removals too. The exceptional choice and experience we are able to offer will always set us apart.”

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