Employed by the Smiths City Group to develop the small but established flooring department, Jeremy Claxton has managed Smiths City Northwood Flooring for seven years now, completely transforming the flooring department into one of the leading retail outlets in Christchurch, New Zealand. With 27 years of trade experience, we had a chat with Jeremy to learn more about his business and the key to his success.
Q. How long have you been in the business and what made you go into retail?
I started my career as a flooring sales representative when I was just 17 and then decided to change to retail sales after 15 years of travelling around New Zealand. My passion has always been flooring and helping people, so it was an obvious choice to remain in the flooring industry.
We’ve always maintained a very loyal customer base and with clients that I often call friends and a team of reliable installers added to the mix, success was bound to follow.
Q. What would you say most of your customers are looking for when they come in to choose a new floor?
When looking for a new floor, the main requirements our customers look for is practicality, durability and of course, flooring that fits within their budget. However, they also don’t want to sacrifice on the colour or style.
Q. What trends are you seeing emerge in flooring and/or what are you favourites?
From what I’ve seen and witnessed, the overall trend in flooring is leaning towards the denser, commercial quality products for longevity and value for money. When it comes to style and look, the Oak Royale range from Karndean’s Art Select collection is popular. It’s also a favourite of mine, with its intricate details and individual designs, each one boasts the natural warmth you get with oak.
Q. What’s the first or most important question you ask a customer?
Key questions we try to ask our clients when looking at flooring is what type of house they’re buying it for (family home, apartment rental, etc.), current decor style and how many people live there. Once this is established, an indication of a budget helps us to determine suitable products to discuss to ensure they’re going to get the best results.
Q. So why did you choose to partner with Karndean?
We’ve had good relationship with Karndean Designflooring for over 13 years now. I find the efficient service and professionalism of the company helps my team to showcase their designs with ease. The website has also been a great tool and sometimes find that it’s been used by our clients even before they come into the showroom. The residential brochure is the best on the market and the sample service is also a valuable tool for us and clients to use.
Q. What has been your favourite flooring installation/project to date?
I particularly enjoyed seeing the results of an installation sold by one of our commercial sales managers, Jodie Ellis. The project was the Greenpark Community Centre in Christchurch (pictured below), which was installed by two of Smith City’s very experienced installers, Alecks and Chris. Auburn Oak parquet from the Art Select range was installed in a herringbone design, covering an area of over 200m2 in size. Our team and the end-user were really impressed with the results!