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Training is the key as new UK showroom makes its Mark

As reported previously in Blinds & Shutters, Markilux has opened a UK showroom in Chester.  After visiting the showroom it is clear to see that the investment is going to be a real asset for Markilux customers looking for an extra edge.

When perhaps most companies are thinking of ‘battening down the hatches’ and making it through what by all accounts is set to be a fairly uncertain 2009, Markilux has made a strong statement to its customers and the market by investing large sums in the opening of its new UK showroom and training facility in Chester.

Walter Curle, Markilux UK’s sales director, has been at the centre of the long process of bringing the showroom concept to reality. Walter explained: “The idea for the UK showroom has been in the company’s thoughts for a long time, but we recognised it was something we couldn’t rush through. We have had to find the right site to do the products justice and the right space so our partners can benefit from training but also use the facility with their customers.”

The showroom was officially opened on January 8th by Mr Justus Schmitz, managing director of the Schmitz-Werke Group and was attended by many customers who got the first chance to see what the facility had to offer, and by all accounts it was time and money well spent. Walter points out however, as expected, they did think about investing such large sums in a difficult climate, but the benefits far outweighed the negatives.

Walter explained: “People have asked ‘why have we spent this money at this time?’ And they are right, it was a massive investment and we did think about it but we have the backing of a massive organisation (Schmitz-Werke Group) who don’t need to borrow and in turn, this investment breeds confidence for our partners.”  

The facility gives Markilux UK the opportunity to train their partners and ensure they are getting the most from the products they are selling. Partners can book the showroom and spend the day benefiting from the onsite sales and product training. Now is certainly the time to be assisting partners and customers, and the training facility provides them with the tools to do their job to a higher standard.

Walter commented: “ You have got to think about what you are doing in this climate. It’s a challenge at the moment, nobody really knows where they are at the moment.

“Markilux never sells direct to the end user and as such the showroom is also designed to bring in business for our partners. We generate business through telesales, talk to department stores and retail outlets and also work with commercial businesses.”
Recent projects have included The Royal Albert Hall – as Walter says: “If we can put awnings on there, we can put them on anywhere” and Wimbledon, where 17 Awnings feature on Centre Court’s corporate boxes. These prestigious projects are a real advert for the Markilux product and back up what Walter feels is at the heart of Markilux – a strong understanding of technical design and engineering.

Walter has been in the awning trade since 1975 but not always at Markilux. He explained: “ I’ve always known of Markilux and looked up to them. Every company wanted to replicate Markilux. We are totally unique in what we do as we are the only manufacturer who weaves its own fabric – Swela.”

Attention to detail seems to play huge part throughout the Markilux set up. The company is clearly an ‘innovator’ and not ‘follower’ in terms of product offering. As the UK has become an even more important market for the Schmitz-Werke Group in the last few years, this investment highlights it will have an even more significant role to play in the years to come.



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