HOT 100 2014: Keith & Bridie Gill, Robert Gatward

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For the husband and wife team behind Robert Gatward the theme of the past year has been polishing; but rather than buffing watch cases and countertops, it has been the very core of the business that has been left shining thanks to some Herculean efforts.

“Over the past 12 months our strategic plan has been to polish our infrastructure, building stronger, more solid foundations to enable continued growth and efficiency,” explains Keith. “For the first time in many years we are getting there. Phew.”

Phew indeed. As well as general housekeeping, Keith and Bridie have achieved some pretty major successes of late, including the opening of the largest Rolex showroom outside of London at its store in Windsor. The opening of this new showroom was made possible by the acquisition of an existing business, Ruffs of Windsor, which had fallen into administration after trading from the town’s King Edward Court for 60 years.

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“Redeveloping the store from a dowdy 1970s unit to become the flagship store of our company has been a huge achievement,” says Keith. “This involved acquiring the two adjacent units, a six-month closure programme, a £500,000 refit and recruiting eight new members of staff [in addition to retaining the former Ruffs staff]. The turnover is now seven fold its previous level.”

As you can see, just a light polishing of the business model then. We can only imagine what this dynamic duo will achieve when they really kick it up a notch as part of next year’s plans to take the business “to the next level”.

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