Remember when Corona was nothing more than a type of lager?
Those were the days, weren’t they?
Towards the end of February 2020, the Modern Homes team visited the annual kbb exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham. We discovered loads of exciting new products for our portfolio, and apart from the occasional sight of hand sanitiser and the entire Chinese section of the show being closed, little did we know what was to come.
What followed was the biggest health scare of our generation. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives forever and has caused untold upset for millions of people.
We’ve had to change plans, adjust our way of life, and support each other like never before. But 2020 wasn’t all bad; when we look back at that crazy year, there are five crucial things we learned as a business.
‘By appointment only’ isn’t just for royalty
The term ‘by appointment only’ was once only used for the incredibly rare instances where a royal would endorse a product. Now, it’s the new normal for the Modern Homes showroom!
It has actually worked brilliantly for both us and our customers. All you need to do is give us a call ahead of time to let us know that you want to drop in, and you’ll benefit from guaranteed one-to-one time with one of our experts.
It also means you have the entire showroom to yourself. The feedback we’ve received from clients suggests the special attention this affords is very welcome indeed.
Sure, there’s nothing like seeing something in person, but 2020 revealed that virtual meetings are incredibly convenient.
Last spring, we launched our first remote design service, and the uptake took us by surprise. People loved it! This may well have been because everyone was stuck at home with little to do, but the ability to receive a tailored design for a new kitchen without ever leaving the house was clearly a massive boon for our customers.
The same goes for the meetings we’ve held during the pandemic. Zoom, Teams, Blue Jeans, FaceTime – even WhatsApp has been called into service on several occasions. And you know what? They’ve all worked brilliantly.
You can still touch
We’ve always been proud of the soft-touch, soft-close drawers and hinges on our kitchen cabinets. The thought of people being unable to touch them was therefore immediately concerning.
After all, how can you truly experience a product that’s so tactile if you can’t reach out and touch it?
The pandemic didn’t stop this crucial stage of kitchen design for us. We actively encouraged clients to touch everything in the showroom to experience the quality. The aforementioned one-on-one sessions and use of anti-viral treatments meant that we didn’t have to cancel this part of the Modern Homes experience.
Hands, face, space – it helped
It’s easy to poke fun at the government’s catchphrases for public safety during the pandemic, but as a business, it did at least give us something to focus on.
For instance, who knew how hard it was to guess what two meters looks like without a tape measure? Well, in the Modern Homes showroom, you don’t need to worry about that kind of stuff, because we’ve become masters at that distance.
When you visit us, you’ll gain the same warm, friendly welcome. We’ll just be sat at a safe distance within our 2800mm x 1300mm centre of the showroom!
Local businesses really do need your support
It’s often the things you don’t hear about in the news which create the biggest headaches for small business owners. For instance, the tier system created all sorts of confusion and unfairness for businesses like Modern Homes.
Did you know that we were deemed ‘essential’ for installation during lockdown but ‘non-essential’ for clients to come in and choose their products? That doesn’t make much sense to us, but we understand the line has to be drawn somewhere.
The big boys of retail managed to circumnavigate this law because trade clients were deemed to be essential during lockdown. That’s why you’ll see the likes of B&Q and Homebase open while the independents have to shutter their entrance.
This response from our local trading standards department sums it up:
“Unfortunately, the Coronavirus Regulations have failed to create a ‘level playing field’. The government has made a distinction between ‘essential retail’ such as supermarkets, building material suppliers etc. and ‘non-essential retail’ which results in the fact that ‘essential retailers’ continue to sell ‘non-essential’ goods throughout the lockdowns, including online.”
It’s why we all need to support our local independent businesses as much as we can – both now and in the future. Be it a butcher, baker, or kitchen design firm, we all need plenty of support.
Looking beyond lockdown with Modern Homes
We’re so excited to see the UK gradually reopen once more. Whatever lies beyond in terms of normality, the fact we can all soon head to the pub for a pint, expend some energy at the gym, or grab a much-needed coffee with a friend means the world.
We’re particularly excited about post-lockdown life because it also means our doors can fully reopen to everyone. We’ve been planning and working on a brand-new showroom in which we’ll be launching our new LochAnna range of kitchens, and we can’t wait to reveal everyone’s hard work.
So, if you’ve decided your home needs a bit of TLC while you’ve been sat inside it for a year, and if 2021 is going to be the year you show your home some love, remember to book an appointment with the Modern Homes team. We can’t wait to see you – virtually or in person!