We love getting to know the independent businesses that make up our local area, so in an effort to find Dorset’s best independent carpet specialist, we sat down with owner/operator Craig Knight, of Knights Carpets and Flooring to find out what makes this business so special.
When did you start the business?
It was actually my grandad that started the business back in the 60s. It started with one store, but with hard work and caring company values it eventually built into a seven-store empire. In its time it has very much remained a family business. My grandad had 5 sons, (one being my dad) each of whom ran one of the stores, and I am continuing the family legacy with Knights Carpets, here in Poole.
I had been working with my dad since I was 15-years old, assisting him as a carpet fitter from a young age. Fast-forward to today, and I now have 25 years experience that I take with me to every job, and bring with me into the store for customers to fully take advantage of—in a good way.
We have moved around from a couple of industrial estates, and we did well from them, but our customers were asking us for a high-street presence and in 2014 this location became available. We took a leap of faith and it paid off. We opened the doors at 12pm Wednesday afternoon and by 12:01 customers were coming in and I’m very proud to say it’s doing really well.
Who’s in your team?
In the early stages I would handle all customer advising and the fitting, but since we moved to this store we’ve taken on a skilled fitter ‘Kevin’, who has been with us for five years, and we also have our apprentice ‘Billy’ who is incredibly talented and an important part of our team. Having our own in house team means that we all work to the same high standard. It also means that if a problem (rarely) occurs, our guys are out within 24 hours to fix it, whereas a subcontractor might already be tied to another job and unable to get out for 2 weeks.
We also have ‘Chrissy’ and ‘Lisa’ who deal with all our admin and keep the finances running smoothly on a day-to-day basis.
What makes Knights Carpets unique compared to say, a big named brand?
It would be untruthful of us to say that we offer the rock bottom prices that the big chains do, with their volume of buying they can negotiate smaller prices, that’s just how it is. BUT—and it’s a big but—we like to think that everything we do, from our attentive and genuinely helpful customer service, to the attention to detail our fitters give, is that of a superior level to the big chains, and an honest one at that too.
How do you hand-pick the brands in your showroom?
We always source the best quality brands, from the best ultra-soft carpets to the finest hard-wearing, design flooring because we want peace of mind that our customers are buying something from us that is going to last.
We also aim to get as many British-made products as possible, because there are some seriously amazing manufacturers in this country. We do also have suppliers in Germany and Belgium too, and they are the leading experts in their own specialist flooring.
What do you love most about your job?
There are a few things actually… I love easing people’s nerves. Buying a carpet—or indeed carpets—isn’t the same as spending £50 on a dinner out somewhere; it is a big purchase and makes a huge difference to the space you’re carpeting. So I try to give our customers as much information as possible, and create an environment where they feel they can ask questions, so that they have the confidence to choose something that they really love.
Nine times out of ten I get to see jobs from the beginning to the end. From the initial visit to our store, through to seeing it all fitted and quality checking, and it’s a really rewarding experience to see customers so happy with the end result.
What do you want people to feel when they come into the showroom?
I want people to feel confident that they’re buying from a reputable business, selling reliable products. I also want them to feel welcome, and relaxed, assured that as soon as they enter there won’t be an insistent salesperson on them straight away. We’re very much about creating a pleasant experience whether someone decides to go ahead with a sale or not; after all we are a people business, and it just feels good to be kind to all who cross our door.
If you have a current flooring project coming up, speak to the team at Knights Carpets and Flooring and find out what they can do to help.
Contact us on:
t. 01202 740604
a. 1 Fleetswood Court, 431-441 Wimborne Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 3EE
Mon – Fri 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am to 3:00 pm