Direct Fireplaces 10 Year Anniversary

directfireplaces.com

Direct Fireplaces is celebrating its 10th year in business this year. It was started in 2005 by Adam Leah. He’d been working as a labourer for a stone mason and they’d sold a few fireplaces they’d made on eBay. Shortly after this Adam started to feel that they’re could be potential for a larger business, a web site selling all different types of fireplaces, gas fires and electric fires so he set about building www.direct-fireplaces.com.

It started off small, from his spare bedroom, as many on-line sites do until he was able to rent a small amount of warehouse space from a haulage company in Manchester. As the business grew and more products were added Adam took a shop in Stockport where the showroom is still based.

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Although it’s changed a bit since then as Adam recalls; “When we first got the shop we’d do all the parcel dispatch from there, which was manageable to begin with but as we got busier there were times customers could barely get through the door. I remember having to move boxes out the way so Brian Robson (the ex-united player) could come in the shop”. It was at this time that Adam felt they needed their own warehouse and now the showroom is easily accessible and there’s no boxes in there only fireplaces and stoves. It was also at this time that  Adam felt that the site was getting too busy with products – as it listed all the fires, fireplaces and stoves they sold – so, in 2008, www.directstoves.com was launched.

 

(Site founder Adam Leah pictured)

Over the years Direct-Fireplaces.com and Directstoves.com have become leading retailers in their respective areas. Directstoves.com now boasts an impressive range of wood burning and multi fuel stoves from all the leading brands including Charnwood, Aga, Arada, Esse and many more. It was even awarded best retailer by Charnwood in 2012 which Adam was very proud of “Charnwood were very sceptical about dealing with on-line retailers of stoves originally as they didn’t feel they could represent their brand properly.

After some discussion they agreed we could list their items on-line and now we’re one of their largest retailers and they are one of our bestselling brands. It’s great to have such a prestigious brand on the site as well.”

Over the years Adam has constantly tried to improve the customer experience by diligently improving the web site (now on version 3) so that there’s  not only more information about the products themselves, but also more information about how to choose the right fireplace, fire or stove from your home. A recent addition to Directstoves.com was their handy stove calculator.

Also, a huge part of being an online retailer is managing the delivery service – which Adam is only too aware of; “We’ve worked with several different carriers over the years and now we feel we’ve got the best mix we’ve ever had and it really has made a difference. One thing we offer that makes us stand out from other online retailers of stoves and fireplaces is that we’re now able to offer 2 man delivery.”

Another improvement that Adam worked on, as well as the delivery service, was the actual delivery times. “Initially orders were placed with the supplier when the customer ordered the goods form us and although on less popular items this is still the case in the majority of cases we now have the goods in stock allowing us to offer 48hr or even next day delivery.”

As a by-product of Adam’s back ground in labouring for a stone mason, Direct-fireplaces.com also offer bespoke fireplaces. “We’re very proud of some of the work we’ve done over the years for private clients – some of which are well known names in the media. They often come to us wanting some quite grand looking fireplaces and we’ve always been able to accommodate their requirements. We recently made a fireplace 2.3m wide which is probably the largest we’ve ever done. But it’s not only the rich and famous we do bespoke fireplaces for. We probably do 3 or 4 a week where people need the hearth making a little deeper so they don’t need to change the carpet or a little lower as they want to mount a TV above the fireplace.”

So what next for Direct-Fireplaces.com and Directstoves.com? “We’ve been going 10 years now and I, by no way, think we’re the finished item yet.

As well as constantly improving the range of products we offer our main goal is to keep improving the customer experience – both on the web site during the purchasing stage and after the purchase. Our next big development will be to have a searchable database of stove and fireplace fitters so that we can offer a more end to end solution. We’ll also be offering finance on all items over £250 soon which will be great for customers.”

by David Adamson