The mobility market’s largest retailer, Ableworld, has been forced to shut one of its franchise stores after the roof “literally exploded”, according to managing director Mike Williams.
But the company’s first-ever closure has coincided with the launch of its largest-ever store – a 6,000 square foot site in Llandudno, North Wales – ahead of either relocating or expanding four other current sites.
Mr Williams said that in the company’s 18 year history it has never closed a store apart from re-location and said that it is “sad” that after the roof “literally exploded”, leaving a “dangerous situation” at the glass entrance, franchisee Jack decided close this coming week.
The franchise owner had been trying to manage the store (not pictured) from America over the last 18 months as he found difficulties in settling into the country with a lot of immigration hurdles.
Mr Williams said: “Although saddened by the situation Ableworld will ensure that all suppliers of stock to the company will not lose out and either Highland Mobility (Ableworld Inverness) will settle all accounts or Ableworld UK will satisfy all the suppliers.
“Also no customer will lose out on their present deposits or product delivery of orders. Ableworld will be setting up support networks for past customers of products and writing to customers explaining the situation.”
He continued: “Too many businesses in our industry and others pull the plug and leave their customers and suppliers ‘high and dry’, which is something that we will not do.”
Meanwhile, in North Wales, Ableworld’s new site replaces its Llandudno shop as the lease comes to an end next year.
Mr Williams explained that the lease of the present store in Llandudno expires in September 2019, with no guarantee of a new lease.
“When we found this site, next door to the main Coach Park in the town it seemed too good an opportunity to turn down.
“We have opened the doors for trading but as of yet haven’t fully launched it as we are waiting for planning permission on a planned café and meeting area along with working on a customer ‘test track’.
“In the last year we have been concentrating on our present portfolio by enlarging the sales spaces in both Newport and Crewe by taking over neighbours’ space as they’ve moved out and we are also targeting four other stores to either enlarge or relocate.
“Our model is different to most of our opposition where we strongly believe we should offer complete mobility ranges (well over 1,000 in store lines) along with the service; not to be just a box-mover in the larger items.
“We are presently well over double our nearest competition on both in-store ranges and sales area, with virtually 100,000 square foot of sales space in our store portfolio.”