It all started on 10 November 1969, when Bill Toon and his wife, Jean, conducted business from the back of a Ford Anglia Estate loaded with carpet samples and rugs from a wholesaler in Leicester. These were sold on market stalls which were only available on a casual basis, until a permanent stall became available. In 1970 a new van was purchased, soon followed by the first permanent market stall in Swadlincote, then others in Uttoxeter, Burton on Trent, and Ashby. Through a policy of offering good service, wide choice, and excellent value for money, the business grew, and was able to move to its first permanent site at the Old Chapel and school-room in Church Gresley in 1972.
Over the following nine years the business continued to go from strength to strength, eventually out-growing the Church Gresley premises. In November 1981, Bill and Jean proudly transferred the carpet business to the current site in Castle Gresley, previously a fabric tape factory. In 1982 Bill invited his brother John, previously a nurseryman, to join the company and help develop a furniture business trading out of the Old Chapel. At the same time a satellite store was opened in Uttoxeter, maintaining the family’s links with that town.
Shortly after moving into the Castle Gresley site the first range of oriental rugs was introduced, starting with just 18 hand-woven rugs. The rug department today covers 3,500sq.ft. Our first small curtain department was opened in 1987, and extended 3 years later. It now extends to nearly 2,000sq.ft.
Major construction work was carried out on the Castle Gresley site in 1991, to bring the building to its present size. Christmas of that year saw the furniture ranges brought under the same roof as carpets and fabrics, initially only on the one floor. The first floor furniture showroom opened in 1994, doubling the square footage of the department, and allowing us to extend the range of furnishings on offer. At around the same time we installed a customer coffee shop, which has since been extended to cope with demand.
Bill Toon sadly died in 1999. After the retirements of Jean, and Bill’s brother, John, Belinda became the new MD in 2003. She is Bill and Jean’s eldest daughter.
To mark our 40th year in business in 2009, the building underwent a major refurbishment. The whole front of the store was removed and replaced with floor to ceiling windows, giving the store its characteristic new look. We continue to add new ranges regularly and keep the showroom updated in order to show products off to their best.
We continue to pride ourselves on our commitment to customer service and fair trading, and the traditional values of honesty and integrity. We are also very fortunate in our excellent staff, some of whom have been with us since the early days in the Old Chapel.