Chisholm Hunter’s managing director Harry Brown is a keen interior designer and pores over every detail when adding to the group’s network of 23 stores.
Opening in Leeds, one of the most competitive cities for watch retailers in the UK, was a very big deal, particularly after securing space on Commercial Street where Beaverbrooks, Berry’s and Goldsmiths cluster with a mix of monobrand boutiques and multibrand showrooms.
Through the planning and construction phase, an opening date of March 18 would have looked ideal: Easter holidays were approaching and that store would bed-in ahead of the summer surge.
But just four days after opening, prime minister Boris Johnson locked the country down, so the brand new Chisholm Hunter in Leeds was shuttered along with every other store in England.
Yesterday the store reopened after a comprehensive review of health and safety protocols, and the company is looking forward to it becoming a top performer for the group.
“We are looking at how business will be this year with great optimism,” says Max Brown, head of retail support for Chisholm Hunter.
All retailers are going to be playing catch-up for the rest of this year, and Chisholm Hunter has the added challenge that 14 out of its 23 stores are in Scotland where no firm date has yet been announced for reopening.
Mr Brown is eager to get going. “Chisholm Hunter are keenly awaiting the [Scottish] government’s announcement on a specific agreeable reopening date. After discussions over lock down, we feel that the team members in Scotland are just as eager to get back to a certain level of normality as their English counterparts,” he says.
When the ruinous lock down is finally eased in Scotland, Chisholm Hunter will look forward to expanding into Dundee among a continuing programme of expansion.
“We are continuing our expansion plans in a few areas in 2020, Dundee being a notable and exciting project on the horizon that we are all very excited about,” Mr Brown says.