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‘More variety and options’
Blinds & Shutters visited TF Sampson  in Stowemarket, Suffolk to hear what plans the company has for the future 

Sampson Blinds - pic 1As we enter 2009 many are predicting an even more difficult year for the economy. It seems with every day there is more doom and gloom in the headlines, well established companies slashing workforces, companies – even countries – going bust. The unfortunate thing is, this is becoming the norm rather than the exception. Where as once it seemed sensational, in such a short space of time it appears to have become so readily accepted, part of life. The blinds industry has not been immune to the economic situation, far from it, but as touched upon in this magazine in the past, there are some companies who are better equipped for the tough times. After visiting TF Sampson Blinds at its factory and showroom in Stowmarket, Suffolk, it is clear this is a company with a long history of making the right decisions – and as such it knows how to adapt and react when the going gets tough.

Established in 1940 by Thomas Frederick, Sampson Blinds has remained an independently owned company making its mark as “East Anglia’s largest and most experienced manufacturer and installer of all types of blinds.”

According to Aaron Scott, operations director at TF Sampson Blinds, TF Sampson is probably best known for its Pleated collection which is mainly supplied by Blocker for the Cosiflor range. “When people say ‘Sampson’, this is generally followed by ‘the pleated blind people.’” said Aaron.

Sampson Blinds - pic 2It is this sort of reputation in the market that has seen the company grow with around 250 trade customers in the UK and Ireland solely for pleated blinds. Aaron believes the company has achieved this reputation thanks to the handcrafted aspect of the company’s service. “It is the consistency of quality in our product offering. We are always competitive and this is supported  by our product’s consistency and quality.”

There is clear evidence of Sampson Blinds spotting areas with room for growth within the market and making the most of them over its 60 year history. With roof blinds for the conservatory market, TF Sampson has been successful and as a result the company has adapted and targeted other areas where shaped blinds are required. The company prides itself on offering ‘unique shading solutions’, and says it can cope with any kind of conservatory and any kind of blind including power operated and remote controlled systems for which it uses the Somfy system. As Aaron pointed out: “The more variety and options we can offer, the better it is for our customers. We maintain our customers by offering the best products and services.”

After unprecedented success in the domestic market, one area where Sampson sees real room for growth is within the contract and commercial market. The company feels its depth of specialist knowledge and expertise along with its product and fabric offering (including heat resistant, transparent – blackout, Verosol metallised fabrics, flame retardant amongst others) put it in an ideal position to help specify and design the right solution based on site conditions, decor, budget, project time frame and all regulations and legislation. And few could argue with this when you look at the projects the company has recently been involved with including The British Library, Warwick University, RFU Twickenham and Felixstowe Docks amongst others.

For the future it would appear to be more of the same for TF Sampson Blinds. The company has upgraded its computer system and is looking to introduce 24 hour online ordering in the near future. It would seem that continuous tweaks like this are all the company needs. As Aaron pointed out: “We don’t need to diversify too much, what we do, we do well.”
This has seen the company through sixty years of business, and not doubt will see it through many more.

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