West Wickham bathroom firm goes independent after collapse of Bathstore
PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 October 2019
After a well-known bathroom company went into administration, a Bromley woman decided she did not want to let down her customers and says she paid back around £125,000 out of her own money to maintain faith in her business.
Claire Algar ran a franchise of the Bathstore name, and when the administrators were called in to deal with the parent company's collapse in June they did not have any dealings with the West Wickham store.
And so Claire decided to use her own money to repay all her customers and relaunch her own bathroom company at the same address.
Claire said she and her team literally walked into work on June 26 and saw an email with the bad news. And that left customers out of pocket to the tune of £125,000.
Claire explained: "We had the Bathstore business in our family for over 17 years, so to be suddenly cut off without any warning was very distressing. We were determined to refund all the money that was owed to our customers or offer appropriate alternatives where accepted.
"We personally called every single customer within seven days and everyone was paid back from our personal family finances."
Despite the uncertainty and competitiveness of the retail market, Claire recently made the decision to proudly re-open as an independent, family business now known as Rouse Bathrooms.
She said: "We love what we do and we love the community we have worked within for so many years. With a huge amount of encouragement from friends, family and former customers, we have decided to go independent. "In the last three months we've had to replace all the phone lines, sales
system, CAD programmes and broadband as it was all licensed through Bathstore. I think we have the best high street for miles and a community that still feels like a community."
Claire said her passion to support local businesses, alongside her integrity for customers is a sign of community spirit.
She said: It serves as an important reminder that the single collection of businesses along our local High Street is what gives our community its flavour."