THE tranquil setting of a country walled garden is not where you would expect to buy a sofa – but a husband-and-wife team are offering just that.
Jason and Tracey Grout have opened up their Sofas & Stuff showroom in converted 18th century greenhouses at The Walled Garden, on the Herriard Park estate, six miles from Basingstoke.
The couple, who opened in March, behind St Mary’s Church, just off the A339, think the business is unique, being the only furniture showroom in Britain with its own Walled Garden, complete with fountain and four peacocks.
The showroom, which also sells beds, certainly has a ‘wow’ effect.
“It has the same effect on everyone,” said Jason. “I still get that every morning, and I think that rubs off on the customers and puts them at ease, making them feel comfortable.”
Jason is keen to point out that customers will not get high-pressure sales tactics at Sofas & Stuff.
“We greet people when they walk in, tell them a little about ourselves and then leave them to their own devices – we don’t hassle people,” he said.
The experienced business people certainly have a relaxed outlook, having both arrived in the UK from South Africa towards the end of last year, They have bought into the well-established Sofas & Stuff franchise, as Tracey had previously worked with its founder Andrew Cousins.
Prior to opening the business, Jason and Tracey spent a lot of time visiting and working at other Sofas & Stuff barns around the country.
“We went to a fair number of them, getting individual training from the owners,” said Jason.“That has been invaluable, so by the time we got to opening day here, we had accumulated a lot of knowledge – and that was really beneficial.”
It has been a particularly busy time for Tracey as just after opening the business, she gave birth to their daughter Ivy, who is 20 days old today.
Following Ivy’s birth, Tracey had struck a deal with franchise founder Andrew.
“I said: ‘I’ll be at work next week if the next sofa is named after Ivy’,” laughed Tracey, who loves the peaceful location of her business. “It’s great – customers can come up and explore what we have got to offer.”
Referring to the impressive range of sofas, Jason said: “What we have tried to achieve is to have something that caters to all different comforts and styles, giving a fairly broad spectrum of what is on offer, so you’ll generally find something that you’ll like.
“All of the sofas are hand-made – they’re all pinned, glued and screwed by hand, to order in whatever fabric the customer chooses and all the frames come with a lifetime warranty.”
This Saturday, Sofas & Stuff will be holding an Easter egg hunt, where participants have a chance to win £1,000 to go towards a sofa.
Register to reserve one of 100 children’s spaces for the Great Easter Sofa Hunt by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org