Celebrating 90 years of selling Carpets
Learn about our 90 year journey.
October 29th1929 was a day to remember for many reasons, the main one being the date of the Wall Street crash. Local residents might have remembered this as the time when Leslie Flude opened a shop that supplied linoleum and carpet squares. 90 years ago, people must have thought that he was crazy to start a business at such a difficult time but Leslie was confident in his business prowess and salesmanship.
Sandwiched between these two momentous events there was also a World War, other economic upsets and events that would put any business under pressure. History shows us that there will always be ups and downs and that Fludes Carpets has survived them all!
Leslie Flude was in the Navy during the Second World War and his wife Gladys and the family kept the business running. After he was demobbed, he returned to the business and moved to the South East of England. This was made in the 1950s and during this time, shops were opened in Hastings, Eastbourne Brighton and Worthing. The stores in the Wirral were closed and some of the staff relocated to the South Coast. Over the 60s and 70s, the Fludes chain grew along the coast to Bournemouth and the West Country with over 20 stores in all.
When Leslie died, his son Dudley took over the business, and in the years following, Dudley’s sons Robert, Richard and Adam joined the business. During the late 1990s and up to 2010, Richard Flude ran the business with his brother Robert. Richard retired in 2010 and Andy Laird took over as Managing Director. Robert retired in 2018 and his son James is still with the business today.
The period of 90 years has seen huge changes in both the type of flooring that people want and the lifestyle that they enjoy. The huge demand for fitted carpets in the late 60s and 70s came at a time when people spent more time and money redecorating their home. Today, flooring retailers have to fight for the share of a household spend that includes computers, holidays, eating out and cars.
Managing Director Andy Laird recounts the times when foam back carpets were all the rage and customers would queue up before the stores opened to get a bargain. “You would ask the customers to form a queue and wait to be served. Happy days that we don’t see now”.
Today, the choice of product for the floor is huge, smooth flooring, carpets and rugs in a range of different colours, textures and raw material all for the customers’ attention.
I wonder what Leslie Flude would say if he was here today. People told him that opening a shop in such a turbulent time during the Wall Street Crash was crazy, but he succeeded.
His business principles were really very simple: Have a good relationship with your suppliers, sell good products at sensible prices, have good looking stores, have happy and professional staff and keep your customers happy.
I wonder if Fludes Carpets will get a telegram from Buckingham palace in 10 years time?