This is a photo of the square in Bethune which has the bell tower on it from the 1300s. we stayed overnight here on Friday on our latest buying trip. Great B&B if you’re ever there called City Relax Bethune. Run by a great couple with only 3 rooms but each room has a relaxing theme to it. So ours had an excercise bike, one had a massage chair etc. There was also a suana for clients use. We had a sucessful trip and got some great stoves which we have never had before, one from a company called Huet from 1860 in stunning condition. Must have been in a very impressive fireplace as it’s huge and very ornate, a real head turner. We are hoping the passport crisis has passed as ours both run out in early September and we can’t make up our minds whether to leave it till the last minute to renew or do them now and hope they come back quickly. I might wait till they run out just in case some good stoves come on between now and then. If Tom sent his off now then we should be covered. Showroom is looked good and well stocked though we have had a very busy start to August. Enjoy the weather whilst it lasts.
Unbelievably the sun is still shining and it really does feel like we are having a proper summer. I can’t bear it when it gets really hot but this is lovely. I am trying to get my act together to go across to France and buy some more stoves but I have been spoiled by us going together and we can’t do that this time as our daughter Lucy has got a summer job at the very upmarket (ex Kate Middleton) Marlborough College whilst they have their summer for school. This necessitates early starts and she needs a lift in 2 mornings a week as there are no buses that early so one of us has to stay to carry out our parental duties and look after the animals. I am putting it off but I really must do it before the French all go on their ‘vacances’ in August. We are still selling stoves very steadily which is still a surprise given the weather and time of year. A lot of people we are getting through the showroom are mentioning the fact that they love having a showroom to come and see them before they buy (and often change their mind once they see them all) and they are very surprised that no-one else seems to do this, I am certainly very sceptical of any website which does not have UK contact details with a landline and UK address. The stoves are often 80 years old and you want to know that there is someone to sort out a problem should one arise. Still, I shouldn’t complain, it’s our gain. well I’d better go and hunt out some new stock over in France and get that ferry booked.
Well summer is finally upon us, Wimbledon has started and all is well in the world. Stove sales are still brisk which is great as we thought they would die down a bit in the summer but they just seem to be getting better and better. We have been having a big push to introduce a bit more furniture and bits and pieces into the showroom to make it more interesting. We have some exceptionally lovely pieces which Tom has worked his magic on to turn them into something exceptional. We have tried to theme it so that it is inkeeping with our French Barn and I think we have succeeded on the whole. So why not pop in and have a look at what we have got? We usually have the kettle or coffee machine on so come and have a natter and discuss your requirements and we will see what we can do. Meanwhile, make the most of the sunshine as it is bound to be raining at the weekend in time for Glastonbury!
Well what a busy time we have been having. Work and sales have been extremely good and plentiful but also we have moved house and you all know what a performance that is. We have done it in stages and moved all our outside stuff to work as we have a lot of it and then spent 2 days gradually moving the contents of the house. Now all we have to do is find the right place for everything. It is exciting though and we are happy to be back in a village with a real sense of community. Can’t wait to have enough energy to get stuck in. From a work point of view, we have been very busy and had some delightful clients who have fallen in love with one stove or another. We have also done quite a lot of sourcing specific stoves for people who know exactly what they wanted which is always satisfying especially when you know they have probably asked other stove suppliers the same question and we have managed to source the right stove within a good time scale. Love it. Now we can settle into work and go and get some more stoves. Make the most of this beautiful weatrher we are enjoying at the moment.
Well, what a busy month, definitely our best since we began. All the hard work is beginning to pay off. People seem to be loving the stoves. We have been over to France 3 times this month which is a record for us. I feel we have a good range of stock to suit everyone. I am very excited about our new Bio Ethanol burners which fit some of our stoves, though not all. They are a great compromise for people who would likw one of our stoves but don’t have a flue or the facility to install one. Particularly relevant if you already have central heating and just want a bit of heat and the look of a wood burner as they give out up to 3Kw.
We are about to move home in the next couple of weeks and then after that we are going to arrange an open day (somewhat late) but better late than never. So watch our FB page for your invitation and come and join us for a galss of wine and a look at our current stock. Have a great bank holiday weekend.
We have had an extraordinarily busy week or two with stoves going off all over the world. The internet is a truly amazing thing. It would be terribly hard to run this business without it or a sat nav! Many of our customers have said like the fact that it is very easy to see on our website exactly what is for sale without trawling through loads of already sold stoves or stoves which say sold but repeatable. We have tried to go for clarity and it certainly seems to be paying off. We have managed to push our google ratings so we regularly come up in the top 3 or 4 if you google french antique stoves or similar which is brilliant. We have over 2700 likes on Facebook and climbing and it all makes a difference. This is a stove we managed to source remarkably quickly for a good client of ours who knows exactly what he wants and we are finding more and more that clients are looking for particular stoves though we are still getting a lot of people just choosing one of our stoves in stock. It is very satisfying to hunt down the right model in the correct colour and condition, restore it and then see the customer’s face light up. A recent reaction being “Amanda, it looks bloody gorgeous. Mine, mine, mine” what could be better? Have a good weekend.
Well another busy week. These two beauties are off to Florida. That surprised me at first but the client assured me that it wasn’t always as hot as we think over there. She has bought them to use them and also, more importantly, as an inheritance for her daughter. Isn’t that lovely? I shall miss them both as they are both such stunning examples and in such good condition. I was so amazed to find the Godin Lemaire which is from around 1860/70 so complete. I have never seen one with the protective back plate in the firebox, just brilliant. Off to St Malo tomorrow searching for a few more to add to our stock.
Well we have recovered from our mad trip last week to France. We covered over 1000 miles in 3 days and went from Loches to Poitiers, right down to Grezes and then up to Orleans before returning to Caen for the ferry home. Quite a journey but we got some really good fires, a bit different (like this unrestored beauty from around 1860/70 and had a couple of good meals inbetween. Now we are back home it is lovely and sunny if a bit chilly but then all you need to do is light the wood burner and you’re toasty.
The sun has finally arrived in time for our birthdays (the day after one another) which always makes you feel better. We have had a big push and more or less finished the showroom, divding walls erected, new inner entrance doors and windows and we are ready to rock and roll. Now we can start getting some other stock apart from wood burners. We had some good sales last week, one notably to a lovely family who are building an extension and want us to source various furniture, fireplaces, lights etc. It then occurred to me that this might be a good route to go down and offer to source specific items from France for clients, so if there’s something you need, please ask.