2016 will see Housing Units enter its 69th year of operation. From its humble beginnings as a small builder’s merchants, it now operates on 200,000 square feet of retail space as well as a 10-acre site for its distribution centre.
We are going from strength to strength and have some exciting plans for growth in 2016, but the family nature of our business and our rich history is always at the heart of what we do.
Housing Units opened in 1947, selling mainly building materials and appliances. As the business began to grow, DIY and hardware products were added to the range, and by the 60s, Housing Units had added furniture to its range.
The 1970s saw a second store added to the site. The store, which was previously a former Sunday school, aimed to help with the growing demand for furniture. Both stores continued to thrive, and by the 1980s, space was so short that a third store was introduced.
The 1990s was a decade of revolution for Housing Units. All three sites merged and a new store was built across a 5 acre site on Wickentree Lane. Despite the recession, Housing Units continued to go from strength to strength and in 1995, a secondary store (the Emporium and Fireplace centre) was also built. With the continued growth of home furnishings, Housing Units made the difficult decision to stop selling building and DIY products.
The noughties began with a bang, when the Emporium and Fireplace Centre was enlarged to form a bathroom centre and a secondary café. The company was once again outgrowing its premises, and as a result, a new 67,000sq ft. distribution and administration centre was built adjacent to the store on a secondary 5 acre site. This freed up valuable space for further retail development, and in the mid-2000s both stores were given a £1.5 million makeover. By the late noughties, Housing Units established a new area, The Crescent, which included the Kitchen Design Centre, a carpet and flooring centre and the Furniture Outlet. As if that wasn’t enough, the noughties were rounded off with the opening of The Wickentree Restaurant in 2009.
We’re only mid-way through the 2010s, and it’s already shaping up to be another great decade. Not only have we won the UK’s No 1 Department Store award three times, but our site has continued to grow. Kids World, a new venture specialising in furniture, toys and clothes for children was opened in 2011, and The Wickentree Restaurant was extended to cope with growing demand. The Furniture Outlet and Bedroom department both doubled in size, and a new fireplace studio was opened in 2012.
Our continued expansion could not have happened without our customers, both old and new, and we look forward to providing many more years of great service and continuing to build on our rich history.