It’s been a crazy year for Middletons, but we’ve loved every minute. We’ve seen 10 new stores opening, we had three nominations for AMP awards, we launched the lightest scooter in the world and we ran phenomenal nostalgic Christmas hamper competition.
Join us as we look back on 2019 in celebration and look forward to 2020.
We opened 10 new stores nationwide
It is well known that Middletons received a £4 million investment from Development Bank of Wales and the clients of the Wealth Club back in 2018 to aid nationwide store expansion. We now have 17 stores in the Midlands, South Wales and the South West with plans already in place to expand further. But first, let's look back on the new stores we've welcomed to the family in 2019...
The first store that we opened in 2019 was Coventry, located in the Warwickshire Retail Park on the 26th of January. It was a Right Royal Celebration as we were visited by a very special guest. We were delighted to be joined by Heidi Agan, the official Kate Middleton lookalike, for our grand opening, who helped cut the ribbon and open the doors.
We also had the Coventry Festival Band to proclaim the opening of the store. They kicked off the celebrations with a number of rousing tunes which gathered crowds. There were plenty of goodie bags and treats to be had as all the guests enjoyed the day and tested out the products. Read all about the celebration here...
The Cheltenham store was opened next on Winchcombe street, but with some difficulty. It was due to be opened on the 2nd of February, but if you can remember we had a large amount of snowfall and we had to postpone the festivities until the 9th of February, but it was worth the wait. First, 'Kate Middleton' and our wonderful town crier (Area Sales Manager, Gareth!) braved the cold and went for a royal walkabout around Cheltenham town centre, proclaiming the opening of the store.
The ribbon was cut by ‘Kate’ and was joined by director and co-founder Ricky Towler and Sales Director Wayne Greet. They declared Middletons Cheltenham open. Once the ribbon was cut, brass band Positive Brassitude got everyone's feet tapping with some fantastic tunes. Everyone enjoyed the day with tea, cake and goody bags.
Wayne Greet said: “We’re delighted to have opened in Cheltenham and we’d like to thank the local community for giving us such a warm welcome. Our door is always open and we love sitting down with our customers for a cup of tea and a friendly chat.” Read about the fabulous day here...
All the other stores
As 2019 started to thaw, our showroom opening streak continued and store openings became even more frequent. It became the “Summer of Store Openings”. The next store to open was Cannock in Orbital Retail Park on the 20th of April. A less grand affair to the previous two but no less exciting. There were refreshments, goody bags and our Easter Sale pleased all who visited.
Brierley Hill opened next on the 15th of June, and what a lovely day it was. It opened in Port West Waterfront West Retail Park. Everyone enjoyed the refreshments, the ribbon cutting and the Summer Sale.
Nottingham was next opening its doors on the 27th of July in the Riverside Retail Park. Followed closely by Swindon, which only opened 7 days later on the 3rd of August. Now that was a busy week!
The next phase saw a move down into the South West coast. Plymouth opened two weeks after Swindon, on the 17th August on Strode Retail Park. After the Summer rush of new stores, there was a month’s break. Exeter wasn’t opened until the 19th of October on Trusham Road.
Burton-on-Trent and Stoke-on-Trent were the last stores to open in 2019, just in time for Christmas. Burton was opened on the 30th of November on Union Street and Stoke was opened on the 14th of December in Jasper Square Retail Park. You can find your nearest showroom here...
Middletons Nominated for the AMP Awards
This year we were nominated for the AMP award 2019 (Access Mobility Professional) who honour excellence in the mobility equipment retail market. The voting took place over the summer and the award ceremony took place in October. Two people from our management team were nominated for the Unsung Industry Hero of the Year award in association with Mark Bates Ltd.
The Unsung Industry Hero of the Year Award recognises individuals who have been setting an example to the rest of the market and whose individual achievements and approach have helped the businesses they are part of to grow and evolve.
The first person to be nominated was Wayne Greet (Head of Sales). They said Wayne Greet works tirelessly for Middletons, covering many aspects of the business from the front of house sales, the motivation of staff to back-office marketing and media aspects. He has brought on and promoted many staff members, including internal employees, sales staff and field agents. In this way, he has been crucial to finding quality staff to sustain and fuel Middletons’ rapid expansion. Wayne is also instrumental in the opening of new showrooms, having a hand in each and every store opening from conception to opening day. He is playing an integral part in one of the most exciting growth stories of the mobility retail industry and is a well-respected talent among his peers.
Gareth Carnegie (Regional Operations Manager) was the second to be nominated. Gareth Carnegie is regarded as the ‘go-to-guy’ at Middletons. One of his colleagues notes how he has previously been sat next to Gareth for full days and his phone has rung non-stop with staff calling with queries. Despite a mountain of work, Gareth gets back to every single query and colleagues cannot remember the last time he took a day off work. Always on-hand to help, Gareth is a kind, generous and highly respected area manager who deserves appreciation and recognition, his colleagues believe. In a growing business like Middletons, it is important to have exemplary leaders for staff to look to and Gareth has shown time and again this year that he is a fundamental part of the retailer’s day-to-day operations.
We were also nominated for the Dealer of the Year (Rest of the UK) Award sponsored by Trilift. It recognises the region’s top-performing mobility dealerships that have demonstrated commitment and innovation to drive their businesses, and the industry, forward, over what has been a challenging year.
AMP said since it received a multi-million-pound investment in 2018, Bristol-based Middletons has expanded at a break-neck pace, opening nationwide stores at a number of key locations. The company is already over halfway to reaching its target of 22 stores, which will lay the bedrock for a retail empire spanning the UK. Far from relying on its size, Middletons has impressed both customers and competitors with an enviable set of plush showrooms and innovative ideas, like its door-to-store service. It is at the vanguard of the modern mobility retail experience and has set the tone for future businesses in this sector. The company has demonstrated it has the brawn and brains to make itself one of UK retail’s leading lights and it is already hot on the heels of the established industry giants.
Sadly, we did not win any awards this year but it was an honour just to be nominated.
Partnered with Fair for You
In September of 2019, we partnered with Fair for You, a not-for-profit credit lender that helps people purchase household items, such as appliances, all kinds of furniture and furniture items for children and babies, that some would not normally be able to afford. Fair for You is committed to alleviating material poverty from all UK homes.
We understand that mobility equipment is essential not a luxury. That’s why you can now purchase Middletons products using Fair for You as a credit provider. Read more about the partnership here...
A new website for Middletons
With the expansion of the business and all the new stores, we needed a website that supported our growth. Back in October, after months of web design, we launched our new website for easier user experience. On it, you can see our chairs, beds and scooters what current offers we have on and our new and improved journal to get all the information you need about all thing’s mobility. You can also find your nearest showroom with our showroom finder.
The Lightest Scooter in the World
Middletons: the final Frontier! Why am I referring to a cult SFI TV show? Well because in December we launched the lightest Boot Scooter in the world.
The new generation Frontier scooter has been designed and manufactured to be light. It’s extremely lightweight aircraft-grade aluminium components combined with the exceptionally light but powerful lithium battery pack makes this scooter the lightest 4-wheel, car transportable, full-suspension scooter in the world.
We often get complaints that the batteries on mobility scooters are too heavy. The battery on the frontier is our lightest boot scooter battery. So it will be easy to lift into your car.
Lastly, when the scooter is disassembled the heaviest piece is only 9.9kg, making it super easy to lift into your car boot. Read more about the Frontier here...
A Nostalgic Christmas Hamper
Time to get Christmassy! This year we launched what will hopefully become a Middletons tradition: our Win a Nostalgic Hamper Competition! The competition was a huge success. The hamper included nostalgic goodies like toffee, complete with toffee hammer, an original sixpence from 1967, a Christmas nostalgia collectable pack and much more. See it here...
We had a total of 334 entries which was more than we ever could have expected. We even went viral on moneysavers.com. But there could only be one winner, the nostalgia hamper was given toe Vikki Wroot from Gloustershire and she had this to say,
“Thank you so much!... Just wanted to let you know we received the lovely hamper today. Thank you so much. Wishing you a very happy Christmas and New Year. Thanks again”
Could you win big next year? Follow us on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss out on any of our upcoming competitions.
We like to keep you up to date with all the things our store staff are up to in the year. We are proud that when our showrooms land in your town, we know that they will go the extra mile to make a difference to your community. Whether that’s doing charity work, hosting events or simply helping people to live life without limits. Here are some of the things our store staff have done in 2019.
A Visit from the Radio
On the 21st of January Capital FM radio visited our Newport showroom.
A day at the Tank Museum
In May Middletons was invited by Allied Mobility to their South West Mobility Show in The Tank Museum in Wareham. The day was a huge success. And we enjoyed seeing the tanks too!
A Deal with Dickinson
On the 20th July Dickenson’s Real Deal came to Newport. They had their antique show in the Christchurch centre on Malpas Road, right by the showroom! So we decided to set up a gazebo and invite people to pop in for a cold drink and refreshments after having a visit to Dickinson.
50+ information day in Newport
Another one from Newport. Our team in Newport attended the 50+ information Day on Saturday 19th October. This is organised by the Newport community Connections and Newport City Council. It’s a day run for the over 50s to gain help and advice from all parts of the community, such as financial advice, leisure activities, health and wellbeing advice, learning and volunteering, hobbies and housing support. There are over 100 stalls to engage with.
At the end of October, our store manager from Nottingham, Jo attended a Parkinson's UK talk, bringing together multiple businesses and associations that could make a difference to Parkinson’s sufferers and their carers too.
Also, in attendance, were Parkinson’s nurses, Connect (an organisation that helps people stay independent in their homes with general support), a lady from Nottingham City Council who helps carers get respite and a gentleman from a business in Suffolk who specialise in wet rooms and bathrooms.
The discussion was based on what could be done for users/ carers to make life more manageable at home.
Jo said “It was a lovely meeting in the sense everyone is working towards one goal and I was very proud to be asked to be part of it. Hopefully, it opens the door to more events in the future and we can build some kind of relationship going forward with Parkinson's UK trust.”
In October and November, we met the wonderful Paul (Jacko), Jackson. This is his story.
Meet Paul Jackson, or Jacko as he is referred to by his friends! He is a huge fan of Swindon Town Football Club and when we found out that his friends and people at Trust STFC were raising money for him to get a mobility scooter, we knew we had to help. Read his story here...
We love to get involved in helping our community, so we invited him to the Middletons store in Swindon and helped him choose a mobility scooter that was right for his needs. He is now the proud owner of a Chase Scooter and will be able to support STFC from the stands for years to come. We loved meeting you, Jacko! Best Wishes!
The Hygiene Bank Appeal
In December our store in Cannock partnered with The Hygiene Bank to help collect toiletries for people who can’t afford them. These simple items that we often take for granted will help support the local community. You can donate anything from shower gel to toilet roll in our Cannock store today! Find them on Facebook here...
We’ve launched a wonderful initiative called Middletons Moments where you can see the people and the lives that Middletons products change every day. Here are a few pictures of the people who have had their lives changed by Middletons products. Their stories are incredible, go to our Facebook page to read more.
Thank you from Middletons!
That's all from us for now thank you to everyone for making this year a great success and here's to the new year we're so excited to see what the new year will hold for Middletons. Watch this space.