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Living the Dream with Eridge Green Kitchens

A love of wood and making things has been prevalent in Rob Wheeler’s life since he was a boy, leading eventually to the creation of Eridge Green Kitchens. With business booming and a new showroom on the horizon we sent Robert Veitch to meet the man who is living his dream

“I love cooking and entertaining, I’m a cabinet maker by trade, I can advise on design and functionality and I still fit kitchens, so I can see the needs of the customer from several angles,” enthused Rob Wheeler within moments of meeting him. Along with in-house designer, Keara Hunnisett, they are the face of Eridge Green Kitchens.

As a child Rob spent school holidays in his father’s workshop, learning to make cabinets and other furniture. After school he became a labourer, employed with a friend on overnight refurbishments in branches of Nationwide Building Society across the southeast. After three or four years he had progressed from labourer to project manager, then struck out on his own.

Rob told me the company name emanates from the location of the original workshop, nearby at Eridge Green. “I started out, getting commissions via word of mouth and personal recommendations, and once established I moved the workshop to Crowborough Business Park. When the business was operating on a solid footing we opened the current showroom, next to Crowborough station, in October 2019 with our workshop located less than half a mile away… and things have gone far better than we ever expected.”

The showroom enhances the customer experience and also allows top end supplier products to be incorporated into the displays. Suppliers include Sub Zero & Wolf, Buster + Punch, Corston, Bora, Caesarstone, Aga, Quooker, V-ZUG, Gaggenau, De Terra, Henry Blake and Mylands Paint.

As autumn approaches the company will experience a seismic change because the showroom is being relocated to No.1 the High Street, at Crowborough Cross. “This is not just another showroom,” revealed Rob, “it will be the heart of the business.” “An immersive experience,” added Keara.

At 2,000 square feet, the new showroom will house five full kitchen displays within the seven or eight displays that are being constructed. It is being created with the intention of enhancing the customer experience, “not to generate more business,” noted Rob. “We hope it will allow us to create more unique designs and be at the cutting edge of the industry in the future.”

Eridge Green Kitchens new showroom is a former bank within a conservation area and the intention is to employ an open-door policy with a friendly feel, to be a social space, to be part of the community, and to organise seasonal events. “The showroom is about brand association,” said Rob. “We will have a bar, fresh coffee and food from time to time. And the old bank vault will house our samples and swatches.”

With over 15 years of industry experience the Eridge Green team has grown to eight full time staff. “We offer a start to finish service,” stated Rob, “Everything is made from scratch and made to order, there are no filler panels in our work. We don’t want to bang them out week after week, we are not a factory.”

While walk-up customers are welcome, it’s better to make an appointment to ensure best service and the full focus of Rob and Keara, as he told me, “We are the customer interface, we offer a very personal service and I like to think that if you can draw it, we can make it.”

Customers can produce their own design, provide an architect’s plan, or Keara will create a bespoke in-house design. “Some customers know exactly what they want, some are in search of advice.” Rob makes the site visits to measure up and fully understand the space and customer needs. The final survey is in 3D, followed up with photographic renders.

Customers are encouraged to visit the workshop to see their kitchen during construction, and installation usually takes about a week, depending on the size and complexity.

Rob was keen to point out many working relationships with customers have evolved into friendships over time. “It’s about the customer journey as much as the product. We want customers to feel welcomed and relaxed. It’s so satisfying to see the reactions at the end of the project, and to learn what friends and family think of our work.”

Although kitchens are the priority, the company can create bathrooms and other living spaces as well as freestanding furniture. “We evolved this way because our customers began to ask for it, they wanted more from us,” noted Rob. "We can refurbish, replace, rebuild and extend. We can be the single point of contact, project manage, and offer turnkey solutions. We retain the same group of sub-contractors for our projects; they’re used to working together and have a great team spirit, which creates a positive, seamless experience for the customer.”

“At the end of the day, customers commission us because we know what we’re doing and they feel comfortable working with us,” declared Rob.

“And because he’s passionate about what he does, he’s very enthusiastic, and can see the needs of the customer from several angles,” added Keara.

Eridge Green Kitchens operate across the south of England on substantial projects and bijou assignments, so if you’re in search of a beautiful handmade kitchen or living space, or some furniture of the highest quality, get in touch and start living your dream.

 

Eridge Green Kitchens

3 Station Approach, Farningham Road, Crowborough, East Sussex, TN6 2GE

01892 663496

www.eridgegreenkitchens.co.uk

mail@eridgegreenkitchens.co.uk

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