‘We used lockdown as an opportunity’ – Furniture firm thrives during Covid

Photograph showing six family members stood together in front of a large glass-fronted furniture showroom

Edward Doe, Charlie Doe, Megan Doe, Lisa Doe, Charles Doe and Nathan Doe in front of their showroom at Sawmills Road, Diss - Credit: John Doe of Diss

Bosses at a Norfolk carpet and furniture business were determined to use the downtime of lockdown to come back better.

John Doe - which is celebrating 10 years since moving to its site in Sawmills Road, Diss - has seen a year of interrupted business due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

But directors Edward and Charles – the sons of retired founders John and Angela Doe – refused to be beaten by the pandemic. In fact, it’s been a very positive time.

Photograph showing large glass-fronted big furniture showroom with parking spaces outside

The business first opened its doors at its 40,000 ft showroom on Sawmills Road, Diss, ten years ago - Credit: John Doe of Diss

“Covid has been difficult for lots of people but because we have lots of different facets to the business, we are lucky to have been able to stay busy,” says Edward Doe. “We’ve still been able to do fittings and deliveries and have continued to work with our commercial clients throughout the pandemic.

“While the doors have been closed for Covid, we’ve also made some big improvements in-store and have taken the opportunity to further improve our already fantastic offering. Our new state-of-the-art flooring display is really impressive and we hope it will offer one of the best carpet and flooring experiences in the whole of the UK.”

Photograph showing a crowd of people in a busy carpet showroom talking and chatting to celebrate its opening

A busy opening night 10 years ago, when John Doe of Diss first opened its 40,000 sq ft premises at Sawmills Road in Diss, where its showroom remains today - Credit: John Doe of Diss

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The team has also improved its curtains and blinds department and welcomed new recruit, Scott Edgeley. Mr Edgely joins the team from John Lewis’ flagship store on Oxford Street, London, where he oversaw the curtains and blinds department - and, like the rest of the team, is looking forward to welcoming customers back to the showroom.

The company was founded by John Doe in 1983. In April 2011, after outgrowing multiple premises in the town, they opened a new 40,000 sq ft showroom – where the business remains.

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In 2018, the team decided to set up a new 18,000 sq ft delivery and distribution hub. This moved all logistic and warehouse activity away from the showroom and into next door, freeing up more space for the business to improve its retail offering.

Photograph showing inside a busy carpet and flooring showroom with groups of people looking at samples

Over lockdown, the team at John Doe has improved the showroom, pictured here ten years ago, when the business opened at its current site on Sawmills Road - Credit: John Doe of Diss

Director Charles and finance director Lisa Doe’s children Nathan, Megan and Charlie have also joined the company in recent years, the third generation to do so.

Edward believes their family ethos is key to their success: “We’re not confined to corporate rules which means our team is able to offer a more personal approach. John Doe has built up an excellent reputation over the past 38 years and all the staff take tremendous pride in the company’s standing.”

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