First Avenue Supplies, a specialist in embroidered clothing and workwear, has set its sights on growth by expanding its showroom and machine room.
Based in Bletchley in Milton Keynes, the family-owned business has taken over a neighbouring unit to increase space by about 35%, allowing it to create an upgraded showroom for selling more workwear.
It now stocks more work trousers by Portwest, Tuff Stuff and StandSafe and more jackets and has added a ladies range and some sports material styles from Stormtech and Henbury Brands.
Sales director Scott Temple said: “A showroom is an ever-evolving thing so our showroom went through many changes over 17 years but it’s only this year that we have extensively increased the area.
“We’ve always had a showroom area and have found that workwear is not best suited to selling online. Although clearly there are many companies making a success of doing it that way, we have explored the avenue and found it to be a very messy sale.
“Obviously selling personalised product has a risk element to it and we feel selling to more of a blind customer increases the risk when clothing doesn’t fit or isn’t up to expectations.
“Our sales philosophy is, Come in, feel the quality, try it on, and that way everyone involved in the transaction is fully in the loop on the product and service being provided.
“Clothing, workwear and PPE constantly has brand new products coming out and it’s not always the case that old styles disappear so the range as a whole is massively bigger than it was 10 to 15 years ago and so we certainly were never stuck for ideas to fill the new showroom.”
He added that First Avenue Supplies has been lucky to be based in Milton Keynes which has continued to grow since the company was founded 18 years ago. “The customer base is on our doorstep and why look any further?
“The move didn’t come without big expenditure. We didn’t physically have the space. We had two companies working from one building. The other company – also owned by ourselves – has had to be moved out to a new building half a mile up the road.
“Once we moved our associate company out, this then gave us the area we needed to increase both our showroom and our machine room to accommodate more machinery.
“As a result we now have the cost of a second building to pay for to run our associate company through but the demand has been extremely high for us over the Covid period for various reasons.”
Scott said that First Avenue Supplies has seen an “instant increase” in sales over the first two to three weeks since the showroom was opened at the site in First Avenue in West Denbigh.
“Customers often come in to collect an order and end up leaving having had a browse and unearthing something else they would like to order. Go in shopping for five things and leave with 10 is certainly the intention we had and so far we are pleased to say it’s working.”
First Avenue Supplies was established in 2003 by managing director Ian Temple, initially starting as a janitorial and industrial supplies company before diversifying into workwear, PPE and personalised clothing. In 2012, embroidery and printing was brought in-house and now runs multi- and single-head embroidery machines as well as vinyl and laser printing equipment.
Pictured left to right: Damien Heath from customer, Milton Keynes-based Heath Electrical Services, cuts the ribbon at the showroom opening with First Avenue Supplies’ managing director Ian Temple and sales director Scott Temple