Glubbs pleased to trade from new store

20:14, Feb 01 2013
Denise and Timothy Glubb, owners of Tillmans Fine Furniture, at their new Somerfield home.
Denise and Timothy Glubb, owners of Tillmans Fine Furniture, at their new Somerfield home.

In April last year Tillmans Fine Furniture owners Timothy and Denise Glubb thought they would be opening the doors of their new store in Beckenham within six months.

But heavy rainfall last winter caused construction delays and the couple only received the key to their new premises just before Christmas.

They were quick to start trading at the new site, having worked from home for nearly two years.

Timothy Glubb says they are pleased with the several sales they made between the Christmas and New Year period.

The Glubbs have owned the business, which was founded in 1956, since 1988.

The original Mr Tillman traded from the corner of Tuam and Manchester streets from 1956 until 1969, when he moved the business to Lichfield St to what had been the National Party rooms.

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After him a second owner had the business for three years before closing it - and then the Glubbs bought it in 1988. They traded from that site until 1998, when they moved to 24 Oxford Tce.

They were there until February 22, 2011.

The Oxford Tce premises were badly damaged in the quake and have since been demolished.

Tillmans Fine Furniture then operated from the Glubbs' St Albans home for nearly two years while they looked for new premises.

It was not an easy wait.

Business interruption insurance cover ran out on February 22 last year, the one-year anniversary of the February 2011 earthquake, "never thinking we'd need any longer than that," Glubb said. Since then the business has survived on sales made while operating from their home.

Tillmans Fine Furniture sells high-end pieces made by top New Zealand manufacturers. Seven of its eight suppliers are local Christchurch firms.

Those suppliers had also been adversely affected because Tillmans had not been trading at its usual levels but none had gone under, as most also supplied some other retailers outside Christchurch.

Last year, working from home, sales were 80 per cent below pre- quake levels.

The Glubbs used a two-room flat near their home as a small showroom for a handful of pieces. Furniture was kept in storage in Hornby and St Albans.

Asked whether the fine furniture market was dwindling, Glubb said he did not think so.

"There is definitely a market for well-made furniture. We don't deal with the whole market."

"We have had a number of customers who aren't buying at the moment because they are going into a new home but they are surveying what's available to make a decision closer to the time."

"At this stage we are very pleased with trading in the short time we have been working from here."

The couple has signed a six- year lease for its new Somerfield St premises in Beckenham.

Initially they had wanted to return to the central city but eventually decided against it.

It had been unclear when or if central city premises would be available, and the business needed to get back up and trading sooner rather than later. "Originally we had thought we would stay in town but we didn't see anything that was a good fit until this one."

After years of inner-city trading, operating in the suburbs was taking a little bit of getting used to, but Glubb said its new Somerfield St, just off Colombo St in Beckenham, was a good spot, and locals had been welcoming.

Glubb reckons there are good things to come as the rebuild gathers pace. "I expect we should have excellent trading conditions over the next four or five years."

Once new homes were built, and the carpets laid, people would be buying furniture.

Fairfax Media