Trade talks: Q&A with Darren Macey, Business Development Manager at Lifestyle & Mobility
With the demise of Betterlife’s online and dedicated bricks and mortar retail operations, many in the industry could mark this a sign of the times for the mobility retail market, with dealers often noting the struggle to achieve margin and remain competitive. This is not the case for all however, with Essex-based Lifestyle & Mobility in the midst of expansion following a period of sustained retail success. THIIS caught up with Business Development Manager Darren Macey to learn more about the retailer’s growth ambitions, securing market share in the South East, and a new flagship store in Harlow.
A growing success story in the mobility retail industry, the family-run mobility company was founded in 2002 by Ron Sverdloff and has organically grown and expanded. The company is now managed by Managing Director Aaron Sverdloff and supported by an engaged team across its multiple sites.
Avoiding getting sucked into competing solely on price, the company has carefully chosen which suppliers to work with and focused on stocking quality products on the higher-end of the price spectrum requiring more specialist knowledge, explained Aaron.
After enjoying its best year to date and investing in new staff at its Southend store to bolster its service levels, the successful South East mobility retailer is now expanding its presence into Harlow and is searching for a new team to run the store.
Promising to be the company’s biggest and brightest store yet and with high hopes of it becoming the company’s highest-earning branch in its portfolio as well, the new Harlow store will join Lifestyle & Mobility network of showrooms in Basildon, Southend, as well as a specialist centre in Potters Bar.
Trade talks: with Lifestyle & Mobility’s Darren Macey
THIIS: Why is now the right time to expand for Lifestyle & Mobility?
Darren: “In my opinion, there are only a couple of dozen absolutely quality mobility retailers out there that do a fantastic job. Right now, this is the most important time for us to expand as we need to protect the patch that surrounds us. We have no intention of becoming a national company, we just want to become even stronger in our region.
“If we sew up all the business in our region, it then makes it impossible for other companies to survive if they try and open in the same town. This sounds all like fighting talk, but we have seen many companies try before… at best they only last a year.
“I honestly believe we have the winning formula to succeed!”
THIIS: What made you select Harlow as the location for your next store?
Darren: “To be honest, we always felt Harlow would be a great location for us but stayed away as there was a multi-million-pound company in town, which we didn’t want to take on for the same reason as I mentioned before.
“They’ve sold most of that business off now and were looking to sell the last part of their business to us. Unfortunately, it wasn’t cost-effective enough for us to buy them out and they didn’t have enough space for us to import all the stock that we like to showcase in our stores. Instead, we are now investing a lot of money into a much bigger site.
“We are on very good terms with that company and are very much a different business model to them, so I’m sure we will both complement the town.”
THIIS: What will this new flagship store be like?
Darren: “I don’t want to give too much away at this stage but I can say people won’t be disappointed.
“This will undoubtedly be the best mobility store the UK has seen to date! People will travel far and wide to see us and we hope to have the largest selection of products of any other mobility showroom.
“The Store is 7,500 sq. ft and will boast a very modern retail look with lots of engaging POS. We shall have all the top brands that you see in our other stores… Sunrise Medical, Invacare, Quantum, TGA Mobility, Kymco, Primacare, Van Os, Karma, Rise and Recline Ltd, Celebrity, Sherborne and Furmanac.”
THIIS: What is key to launching a successful new mobility store in a new town?
Darren: “Staff, staff and staff… this is the key. We want the best people that are in the business, so if you’re looking for a job and a company that looks after you, look no further!
“We have a huge retention rate and all our employees love working for us & stay with us. Don’t be put off by the location or distance you may have to travel. You will get great job satisfaction and will be paid well as the company becomes more of a success.”
THIIS: Some have commented that the mobility industry is becoming increasingly difficult to remain competitive in, yet Lifestyle & Mobility seems to be going from strength-to-strength, what is the secret?
Darren: “I think I’ve said too much already… but again, I would say staff. We have a fantastic management team, with a great mix of personalities and styles. Together, we are Lifestyle and Mobility; on our own, we are nothing.”https://thiis.co.uk/lifestyle-mobility-talks-shop/https://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/lifestyle_mobility.jpghttps://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/lifestyle_mobility-150x150.jpgAnalysis & InsightsNewsroomRetailer NewsTrade TalkLifestyle & Mobility,Mobility retail,mobility retailer,mobility sector,mobility shop,mobility store,RetailerWith the demise of Betterlife’s online and dedicated bricks and mortar retail operations, many in the industry could mark this a sign of the times for the mobility retail market, with dealers often noting the struggle to achieve margin and remain competitive. This is not the case for all...Sarah SarsbySarah Sarsbysarah@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine