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POWER LIST 2019: Multi-site Retailers

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Hill-Rom’s high quality and innovative Liko hoists facilitate the safe lifting and transfer of patients in all healthcare environments.

In 2019, Hill-Rom is working on ensuring it has national coverage through a network of high-quality channel partners.

Working alongside high quality partners is the preferred route to market for Hill-Rom and Liko in this market, so it is looking to identify and partner with likeminded dealers.

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Once it starts working with an organisation, it looks for ways to enhance their current business and bring more value, so it is supporting partners with additional education around technical and clinical subjects. Contact UKmarketing@hill-rom.com for further information.

Graham Johnson, Owner, Ability Plus

Heading up one of the prime mobility retail outfits in the competitive South East, Graham Johnson is an admired leader not only within his own business, but among his industry peers. With a background working as an investment analyst in the City, Graham has a unique outlook and skillset which he is using to turbocharge his business.

One of Graham’s main drives has been to ensure staff are the difference between customers deciding to shop in-store from Ability Plus and elsewhere online. He wants his staff to be able to confidently say to customers: ‘If you’re not happy with our service you’re quite welcome to come and put a brick through the window’.

To back that up, Graham has been focusing on staff development and working to ensure staff loyalty. His expansion plans for the next few years take loyal staff into account and he plans on rewarding them with the potential of allowing them to open up their own stores under the Ability Plus banner.

Showing his staff that there is an opportunity to own their own business, Graham is incentivising the impeccable customer service which is so important to the retailer’s success. An invigorated workforce will help Graham’s efforts this year to develop more specialisms and ‘get out and about’ to access new clients.

Gary Blood, Operations Manager, ScootaMart

Since joining ScootaMart in 2015, Gary Blood has been instrumental in its growth. A familiar face in the industry, Gary quickly gained respect from the company’s staff and more recently was responsible for orchestrating ScootaMart’s store opening and relocation programme, which has been key to its expansion.

In the last 12 months, Gary has redesigned all showrooms, opened four new stores and created a corporate identity throughout the business. He is credited by the management team with organising viewings for potential premises, opening the stores and carrying out recruitment and development of staff.

Thanks in part to Gary’s efforts, all staff are now more versatile than ever before. Gary has also driven down overheads and consolidated outlays like electric, fuel and telephones so the dealer now enjoys better control over expenditure while paying less.

According to managing director, Spencer Coe, Gary has turned ScootaMart from being a predominantly scooter and powerchair provider into a one-stop-mobility-shop. Spencer says of his colleague: “Everyone has benefited from his input and he is held in the highest regard by the whole team. Ultimately, he has made ScootaMart a more professional mobility provider.”

Michelle Mossford, Senior Marketing Manager, Ableworld UK

Ableworld UK has had an extremely busy 12 months, opening its largest store to date and consistently beating its weekly sales records. Both the core business and its franchisees have achieved significant growth and the company’s marketing boss, Michelle Mossford, has played a key role in its accomplishments.

Orchestrating the launch of a new in-store customer magazine, running a mobility scooter safety scheme – which even featured on ITV News – and ensuring the brand’s message is ever-present online and on social media platforms, Michelle has been at the centre of Ableworld’s impressive marketing feats over the last year.

Her proactive marketing strategy when it comes to online channels, events and physical entities is helping the retailer to reach more customers than ever. Admirably, Michelle’s willingness to discuss and impart her experience and knowledge of strategies and best practice with the industry’s other retailers has helped other businesses to develop.

Importantly it is ultimately the end-users who benefit from this approach. Despite her keen business mind, it is evident that Michelle treats the concerns of end-users as a priority while helping to operate the market’s largest retail outfit.

Darren Legg, Franchise Development Manager, Easy Living Mobility

Few individuals in the market have had a job on their hands as immense as Darren Legg in the past six months. Easy Living Mobility’s franchise boss has been tasked with launching a brand new network of partner businesses based on a model carefully constructed over nearly 20 years by owner, Daniel Griffiths.

Although the franchise initiative was only recently launched, Darren has spent months working alongside his team ensuring the groundwork is laid and the infrastructure is there to support a new network of partners. With the support of Daniel and Easy Living Mobility’s key management team, Darren has had to overcome a lot of challenges in a short space of time, including creating prospectuses, getting a special website in place and organising marketing and accreditation applications.

Now he is busy recruiting and vetting applicants – a demanding task, any retail franchisor would agree. Darren certainly has a tall order in front of him, achieving Easy Living Mobility’s ambitious franchise rollout, and his biggest challenges are likely yet to come. But considering how the model has taken off and how Darren has cleared the hurdles in his stride, he certainly seems to be the man for the job.

Martin Bush, Founder, Bush Healthcare

Few leaders in the mobility sector can boast as much experience as Martin Bush. A well-known face in the industry since its infancy, the Welshman has just about seen it all. But nearly 40 years in the trade has not muted his appetite for growth and the last 12 months have proved as busy and important as ever for the multi-site retailer.

In fact, Martin has led the business into uncharted waters recently, marching across the border and opening the company’s first stores in England – a clear indicator that the firm’s proven model works and that its boss is still hungry for more market share. A handful of store openings has further cemented the dealer’s dominance in South Wales, which is an increasingly competitive retail landscape.

Martin however, is not satisfied with simple, physical expansion, and has been looking at ways of diversifying the business and entering new markets. He is experimenting with a new hearing aid department at one store and also with vehicle adaptations, which could be rolled out if they prove successful. Martin knows the strength of his business but as leader of one of the market’s largest players, the importance of flexibility and change is not lost on him.

Tara Butterworth, Operations Manager, Millercare

Tara Butterworth plays a major role in running one of the most expansive and dominant mobility retail operations in the country. As operations manager, she is now in charge of 16 branches in North West England and ensuring each one runs smoothly.

Millercare is a household name in mobility and in the last year it has gone from strength to strength, with each store playing its part in advancing the brand. When Tara joined the team, Millercare had just five stores and now she uses her extensive experience and detailed knowledge of the sector to help guide branch managers through the various challenges retailers are facing currently.

Some of the initiatives Millercare’s stores have been involved with recently include working in conjunction with local Shopmobility services and partnering with Tesco to promote Motability. Tara has helped ensure that Motability is a key revenue stream for Millercare and in 2018 the business was highly commended in the scheme’s awards.

It is no easy task being so successful in the area Millercare operates, with some sizeable competitors on its doorstep. Nevertheless, Tara’s recent efforts have not gone unnoticed higher up the chain, with suppliers praising her ‘excellent work, enthusiasm and eye for quality products’.

Wayne Greet, Sales Director, Middletons

Middletons burst onto the mainstream mobility market a year ago when it unveiled plans to launch more than 20 new retail sites in three years after receiving £4m of investment. It has rapidly expanded its portfolio as part of its initial store rollout. While bosses Ricky Towler and Tom Powell have led on the first phase of Middletons’ plans, Wayne Greet, the company’s sales director, has played a significant part in orchestrating shop launches.

Attending multiple openings and ensuring each new site is performing, Wayne has helped to implement a series of successful store launches which will form a strong foundation for the company’s next phase of growth. Wayne has been recognised within Middletons for his ability to help individual sites drive revenue.

One of the highlights in recent months has been the retailer’s first concession store in a garden centre in Bath. At each new shop, Wayne’s key mission has been to get the community involved and part of this initiative has included starting local schemes that provide a door-to-store taxi service. Middletons is half way to achieving its goal of more than 20 stores and with Wayne in charge of sales, it seems well on track to completing it in time.

Tags : ability plusableworldbush healthcareeasy living mobilityhill-rommiddletonsMillercarescootamart
Joe Peskett

The author Joe Peskett

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