Work has begun on a new Barker and Stonehouse store in Teesside which will double as the company’s head office, following a £4.5m investment by the firm.
The significant spend is being made on the new store in Stockton, which will be constructed after the demolition of the former Springs Health Club at the entrance to Teesside Retail Park.
The Middlesbrough-based company, which is the UK’s biggest independent family-owned furniture retailer, enlisted Archial Norr Architects and McLuckie Projects to design the building, which becomes the firm’s tenth store.
The firm was founded in Stockton in 1946 and has grown significantly since then, now boasting showcase stores in London and across the country which have drawn awards and praise from national media and architectural bodies.
James Barker, Managing Director of Barker and Stonehouse, said: “This is going to be a spectacular store and will be a great asset to the Teesside Retail Park and wider Teesside area.”
The business, which employs more than 250 people, increased sales to £40.2m in its most recent accounts for the year to March 31 2013, from £39.6m in 2012, having benefited from growing optimism within the housing market, with those getting onto the property ladder seeking to furnish their homes.
Project manager Dennis McLuckie said: “The new store will provide a flagship building on this gateway site of the retail park.
“It will really enhance the visual quality of the existing retail environment, while also sitting sympathetically within the natural landscape.”
McLuckie Projects is overseeing the build and working with a team of specialist contractors and engineers on-site, including Bucklers of Middlesbrough who is handling the demolition.
Site manager Dennis McLuckie added: “It’s great to be on-site and able to get started with the project. We’re hoping to begin the construction phase in early July and to be weather-tight by Christmas.”
Reaffirming its North East roots, the firm last year returned its shipping to Teesport from Southampton, appointing local supply chain business PD Ports to manage the handling and distribution of its international furniture products.