Our team of experts have been fine tuning their skills by opening over 70 stores all over the UK in the past five years; and now we’re delighted to open the doors to show you how our team creates these speedy transformations. Our time lapse video takes you from day one to opening day in a matter of seconds and our man on the ground, Redmond Cliff, explains how 3,986 boxes of shoes, boots and slippers are brought into store, packed and put away, staff are trained and every little detail is made perfect in just 48 hours.
The story of a store actually starts with the team who find our locations around the UK. They scrutinise statistics to discover the best positions, whether it’s a city centre location with lots of visitors like Leeds, historic centres like Windsor or Bath or seaside destinations like Eastbourne or Southport.
Then it’s all about location, location, location! Our team takes time to get to know the new towns, discover the places where Hotter customers like to shop and then try to find suitable properties with enough room for a spacious sales floor and lots of shoes!
Once negotiations are complete (imagine a house move but with more paperwork!) we receive the keys and work can commence. We’ve been working with a group of architects and builders for several years, so they know what we want and can adapt all the key features. We have special areas for different collections of shoes, lots of space to make the store light and airy and plenty of seating and fittings to ensure our assistants can offer a great service to customers. And every store has a quirky local detail to make each store unique – have you spotted any on your visits to our stores?
The team of builders, joiners, electricians and painters take just four weeks to make the transformation complete, but as you can see from our video there’s still a lot of boxes to unpack before we can welcome in our customers at last.
Redmond Cliff joined Hotter 2 years ago working as an advisor in our call centre. His knowledge of Hotter products and service have been a fantastic asset in his new role in Retail Support, but even he was shocked at his first store opening when nearly 4,000 pairs of shoes had to be taken up a very small, and winding, staircase to create the new Leeds store room. Here’s his story…
“We have just 48 hours to stock our new store, make it look perfect and train new staff how to use our computer systems. Our store manager will have been recruited the previous month and will have selected the new team, who will be trained on product and fitting in the days before the final store fit. But this is the first time they’ll have experienced our shop floor and it’s up to us to create the stock room so it’s ready for our first customers.
“We’re joined by a manager from another store, who has lots of experience, and in Leeds the lovely Jess from Harrogate joined our set up crew. We meet at 7am on the Thursday before the store opens on the Saturday to clear everything ready for delivery.
“First we take cartons of shoes off the lorry, fill the store and then split up – half of us take shoes upstairs, and half arrange shelves alphabetically, and then by colour, size and width, which is around 350 combinations. Once everything is upstairs we put the furniture in position, clean the store and the visual merchandiser, Amy, works her magic.
“On day two, we double check the stock room so everything is in place and then there’s additional training. Everyone picks their new uniform shoes and has a chance to role play fitting, stock checking, buying shoes and explaining the benefits of our shoe care products. The windows are the last thing to be revealed as we peel down the cover-up stickers and we’re ready for opening on Saturday at 9am sharp!”
The delivery was later than expected and didn’t have the lift at the back of the truck to lower the pallets, so every carton had to be taken down individually and then had to be reloaded onto pallets in the street. It was touch and go, but the team managed to get everything unloaded by 10.30pm, just as the traffic wardens were hovering!
At 12noon on the Friday our tills decided to give up so, like a knight in shining armour, Chris from our IT department, drove over from HQ to fix them.
By 5pm on Friday, time to go home, we took down the stickers covering the window, only to discover they had been fixed on with industrial strength super glue which clearly wasn’t intended to be used on windows… 7.30pm and we were still scrubbing away!
We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone in our retail team who make our stores look so fabulous, and serve our customers so well, from Aberdeen to Truro and everywhere in between. And Redmond … we’ll make sure that whoever organises the glue gets the right kind next time!
Did you know you can find your nearest Hotter store by using our Store Locator . Our stores are in amazing locations so if you’re planning a UK staycation why not see if there’s one near your destination.