We were selling carpet samples and rugs 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.
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 (NOTE: The Uttoxeter store is no longer open)
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. 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.
Our ranges of furniture are always expanding and the vast showroom covering 60,000 sq.ft definitely shows them off, in inspirational room settings.
We focus on providing an all-round service for our customers. We offer a free professional measuring service for carpets and curtains. We can also remove and dispose of your old carpet or furniture if required. And we look after our customers at the showroom - offering free design advice, a cosy coffee shop, free parking and an instore lift. A visit to Toons is always comfortable, worthwhile and inspiring.
Our excellent reputation is built on nearly 50 years of first-class customer service. Many of our customers return time and again, and often recommend us to their friends and family members. We are proud to be part of our local community, and we source products specifically for our local market, providing ranges suitable to all budgets and tastes.
We are a family owned and family run independent retailer, which means we have the best products from the best suppliers, and can offer more choice as we are not tied in to particular suppliers. This also allows us to offer very competitive prices. We are not answerable to anyone else and don’t have to follow a policy from a distant Head Office. This means we can be flexible and tailor our service to meet a customer’s needs.
Most of our sales staff have been with Toons at least 10 years, many of them 20 years, or even more (the longest serving member of the sales staff has been here for 35 years). This means that the sales team has excellent product knowledge, and are experienced in our values of genuine service. The sales team is not commission-led, which means they can offer impartial advice in a friendly, no pressure environment.
Our friendly and professional furniture delivery team will deliver your furniture, make sure it is assembled to your satisfaction, and remove all packaging. If you are unsure that your sofa will fit into your home we can arrange local trial runs before it is ordered. Our expert carpet and curtain fitters also have many years’ experience and we consider them the best in our area.