Fenwick is preparing to welcome you all back with exciting refurbishment projects and new brands! Store Director Simon Youden tells us more about the iconic department store at Whitefriars.
Tell us a little bit about Fenwick Canterbury
Fenwick Canterbury is part of a group of 9 department stores, the flagship being based in Newcastle: it’s a family-run business established in 1882. The Canterbury store opened its doors in 1986 as flagship of the Whitefriars shopping centre. Our values are around our commitment to a fundamentally Fenwick customer experience, stocking a wide range of affordable luxury brands from Men’s and Ladies fashion, accessories, beauty and through to toys and homewares including a seasonal Christmas and garden furniture department. Brands include Hugo Boss, All Saints, Reiss, Whistles, Weekend Max Mara, Russell and Bromley, KG and the White Company. There is a strong emphasis on Hair and Beauty with leading brands such as Chanel, Dior, Clarins, Estee Lauder, La Mer and Jo Malone. Employing over 100 staff we have three hospitality sites and a Hair and Beauty suite on the 3rd floor. This makes us a cornerstone store for the local client and clients from all parts of Kent and further afield.
Fenwick is also signed up to accept the Canterbury Gift Card – we look forward to being able to welcome these sales as soon as we re-open.
What are you looking forward to most after lockdown?
Trying to get back to a sense of normality! From interacting with colleagues and seeing all our loyal customers again to enjoying a social environment again with a good meal and a glass of wine, perhaps a bit of cricket at the Spitfire Ground and attending some of the many local festivals.
What has kept you busy over lockdown?
We have a local store network called Yammer which is our way of keeping in touch with the team and our colleagues showcasing their many talents. Many are doing various charity sponsorships and I’m aiming to walk and run over 150 miles: The scenery is just incredible and you can go for miles without seeing anyone. I’m also doing a “weigh off” with one of my managers and listening to all my old records again!
How will you keep your customers safe on their return?
During lockdown we have used this as an opportunity to spring clean the store – from the façade which is currently being cleaned, to deep cleaning the store inside. There are several exciting refurbishment projects happening and with the introduction of new brands it is a huge opportunity to redefine the store layout to ensure there is enough space to really showcase our product in a safe and compliant way. Key is that of the customer journey around the store: We have employed hosts at the entrance to reassure and advise our customers and have now an established one-way system around the store. By having just one entrance in we can control the numbers of customers in the store ensuring they can browse safe in the assurance we are compliant to ever-changing government regulations. Hand sanitiser is available across key touch points in the store and our store risk assessment is reviewed weekly.
How can customers support you right now?
To continue to show their support by visiting us after lockdown, to give us their feedback: myself and my team want to know how we are doing, how they are feeling about coming back in again, and how we can make it a better place to shop. I want my team to feel empowered to make decisions for the good of the company and the customer and above all to care.
It doesn’t cost anything to be kind and to remember we are living through this pandemic as one. We are having to look at different ways to retail and are establishing a concierge service and a new improved personal shopping service.
We can’t wait to welcome you back soon.