In the latest in our series of Five Minutes With… local business spotlights, we caught up with Theo Stavrinides, who left the RAF to start the Out & About Carpets franchise in Altrincham.
ALTRINCHAM TODAY: Can you tell us a bit more about the history of Out & About Carpets and how you came to be involved with it?
THEO: The business was founded by David O’Neill in 2012. Between us we have 45 years’ combined flooring experience and knowledge. After serving 11 years in the Royal Air Force, I decided to go back to the carpet industry where I’d worked previously. David knew my skill-set and attributes would fall perfectly in line with his plan to expand his client portfolio around the Stockport region, so I started the franchise in Altrincham.
ALTRINCHAM TODAY: Unusually for someone in the carpets industry, you have a background in the military. Can you tell us a bit more about that and how that experience helps you now you’re running a business?
THEO: The military taught me many transferable skills which relate closely to running a carpet business. With already having background knowledge within the trade, my attention to detail is extremely useful. As I left the Air Force as a non-commissioned officer, I had the duty of managing up to 20 personnel. This is useful as when I take on a job, I manage the other trades to ensure the right work is done. Problem-solving is key within this job, so being able to analyse and overcome issues makes me more flexible when carrying out the estimating and planning process.
ALTRINCHAM TODAY: There are a few carpet retailers out there – is there anything that you do differently as a business?
THEO: I can honestly say we have the best customer service in south Manchester. How do I know this? We have over 160 five-star reviews over the three branches and no negative feedback in 10 years. As we are a choose-at-home service, we don’t have to pass on any of the overheads to the customer.
ALTRINCHAM TODAY: What would you say were the main benefits of an at-home service?
THEO: The choose-at-home service allows customers to feel relaxed in the comfort of their own home. Lighting conditions affect the flooring’s true colour, so flooring can appear darker, lighter or in some instances a slightly different colour when chosen either online or in a showroom. As we bring samples to the customer, they can match the flooring samples to their own décor and soft furnishing.
ALTRINCHAM TODAY: Can you tell us a bit more about the products you offer, and which ones are currently proving the most popular?
THEO: We offer a huge range of different colours and qualities of carpets from hard-wearing 80:20 wool carpets to everyday fully bleach-cleanable carpets. We understand that every person’s needs are different, so being able to identify the right flooring for them is the most important. Luxury vinyl tile is becoming hugely popular as it comes in many shades and designs, it can be laid in many patterns but is easily cleaned and hard-wearing. We understand that most people will have a budget so we always try to give the best we can to fit within this. We always work with full honesty and integrity with customers.
ALTRINCHAM TODAY: What are your hopes for the future with Out & About?
THEO: Like any business we are looking to grow. The more people we can help along the way the better. As new products are released onto the market, we always carry out research prior to passing it on to the customer. Choosing carpets can be a little overwhelming so we aim to reduce this as much as possible.
To book an appointment, visit outandaboutcarpets.co.uk. You can also follow @outandaboutaltrincham on Facebook.