Whitstable Stove Shop is bucking the trend somewhat. Whilst reports about the state of the nation’s High Streets state that around 1 in 7 shops are now unoccupied and others are due to close, the stove shop is attracting a lot of interest, both locally and further afield, even from those living in France.
A variety of factors are influencing this interest. Firstly, the backgrounds of the shop’s new owners are in retail and marketing, especially internet marketing and recently, social media. This has helped to get the word out to a wider area than the relatively limited footfall in Whitstable and at surprisingly low cost.
A second factor is our pricing of installed, HETAS certificated wood burning stoves. Whilst there may be little that can be done with the retail price of a stove, due to limits and restrictions imposed by wholesalers or manufacturers, where our customers win is on the overall supply and installation costs. If installed by a DIYer, or a non-accredited installer, the council Building Control department will have be notified in order that they can inspect the installation. This alone comes at a cost of over £200.
Our HETAS accredited installer can self-certificate installations, removing that cost from the equation. That and not drastically ‘marking up’ keeps our prices at a level we feel is fair and affordable. Overall, we believe we’re able to beat anyone on price locally, saving our customers £100s and for larger installations, £1000s. (As an aside, installation really should be carried out by a competent, accredited installer, who will know the dangers and pitfalls and who will ensure that these do not occur. A poorly installed stove can be dangerous and if not certificated, this may have detrimental affect on insurance.)
A third factor is climate change. The burning of fossil fuels and the impact on the environment is on many people’s minds. Our burners can use sustainable fuels, such as seasoned logs, compressed waste wood, paper briquettes etc. As the logs/trees are harvested, so new ones are planted to replace those that have been cut down. New vigorous growth will take up the CO2 released by the burners. The burners themselves are around 80% efficient, or 4-8 times more efficient than an open fire.
Lately, energy security will be coming into the public awareness. Recent announcements about the UK’s gas powered power stations closing and the fact that much gas will in future need to be imported will be a worry for many. A bio-mass burning stove can alleviate much of this worry.
And of course, there’s a push to shop locally nowadays. Twitter and other social media are showing that this a popular – and growing – trend, hardly surprising given recent events elating to food and drink especially. Many of those coming in to the shop or making contact electronically are saying that this is one of the reasons they have chosen us to supply and install.
Overall, the timing and the location – given the town’s demographic – has proved to be just right for Whitstable Stove Shop. We hope that it proves to be so for our neighbouring businesses too.