Trade Talk: Q&A with David Tomlin, Managing Director and Owner of Primacare
Bespoke seating company Primacare engineers and manufactures its chairs in Wales, where it produces a broad range of mechanisms, fabrics, features and accessories. Chairs are designed with input from healthcare professionals to ensure that the end-user is comfortable in a chair that exactly fits their needs. During the COVID-19 pandemic the company had to adapt its way of working in order to meet the continued demand for its products. THIIS caught up with David Tomlin, Managing Director and Owner of Primacare, to find out what’s new now…
THIIS: How has Primacare adapted over the last 18 months?
David: “We did not close in the early stages of lockdown, which was very strange when many other businesses closed. We had 20 per cent of the workforce isolating initially through government guidelines but we were under pressure to make furniture. We had to get people out of hospitals!
“The backdrop to this was that as we made adjustments to manufacture at our current rate then orders were growing week on week. We needed more space, so a mezzanine floor was built and the showroom area was adopted as the new home for the upholsterers.
“Supply issues with some components forced us to hold more stock to continue manufacturing. The two components that caused an issue were timber and foam as these are space hungry products that need to be kept dry.”
THIIS: How has it worked incorporating your showroom as part of the production space?
David: “The showroom space was non-productive for a large part of the year so there are no plans to change this. However, we will have a small demonstration space for visitors to the site.”
THIIS: Is Primacare recruiting at the moment?
David: “During the course of the pandemic, we have almost doubled our workforce and will continue to look for new and experienced personnel. The more specialist positions of upholsterer and sewing machinist have proved to be the more difficult to fill. We are not the only manufacturer recruiting in this area and we are competing with the domestic market.”
THIIS: What are your bestsellers at the moment?
David: “Our best-selling products are the Brecon and the Adelphi chairs which have been firm favourites with the retailers for some time now. They are both past winners of the THIIS Product of the Year and continue to be very popular with retailers.
“They have been clear winners in expanding our range beyond the standard riser/recliner chairs, which clearly have their place in the comfort market. It has opened up a whole new customer base of more specific positioning seating requirements and dovetailed nicely with our other hoisting and handling ranges. See below for just a couple of comments from retailers.”
“The end result is a very adaptable chair [Adelphi] that can be tailored to suit a very wide range of clients. This makes it very easy to hold stock for rapid delivery and also extremely convenient to keep a demonstrator unit that can be adjusted to suit each individual client at the time of assessment.” Alastair Gibbs, TPG Disable Aids
“The tilt in space action [of the Brecon] provides a better seating position than most standard dual motor chairs and the quality has withstood both our rental and sales markets. There is a good choice of domestic fabrics and sizes to suit most of our customers needs.” Lauren Bromfield, Classic Mobility
THIIS: Are you looking to expand your dealer network?
David: “Our dealer network is a good size at the moment but there are parts of the country where we would like to be better represented. We like to think of our dealers as retail partners and will assist them where we can with loan stock, assessments, exhibition support and so on.
“Our dealer coverage is good in the south of the country, but north of Nottingham, there is scope for new partners. Retailers who are interested to discuss opportunities should e-mail email@example.com or call 01685 845900.”
THIIS: What products are your looking forward to showcasing over the coming months?
David: “Although new product development has slowed down we are still taking enquiries for products to be made and will no doubt start to develop and produce new products in 2022.
“Our latest innovation is the Adelphi Trio, which has been seen by few in the flesh but the reaction has been encouraging. This is one of our most adjustable chairs for highly dependent occupants.”https://thiis.co.uk/trade-talk-qa-with-david-tomlin-managing-director-and-owner-of-primacare/https://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Adelphi-Trio-42.jpghttps://thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Adelphi-Trio-42-150x150.jpgAnalysis & InsightsNewsroomSupplier NewsTrade NewsTrade TalkAdelphi,Brecon,chairs,David Tomlin,Mobility,Primacare,seating,tilt in spaceBespoke seating company Primacare engineers and manufactures its chairs in Wales, where it produces a broad range of mechanisms, fabrics, features and accessories. Chairs are designed with input from healthcare professionals to ensure that the end-user is comfortable in a chair that exactly fits their needs. During the COVID-19...Liane McIvorLiane McIvorliane@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine