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East Anglia Future 50

A small business with a rugged sort of charm

PUBLISHED: 17:01 23 November 2018

Darrell Smith of Archway Carpets. Picture: Simply C Photography

Darrell Smith of Archway Carpets. Picture: Simply C Photography

Simply C Photography

While most people might tend to think of the big-name carpet companies they see at retail parks as dominating the carpet market, Archway Carpets is a small carpet business that has been going strong since 1984, and its director, Darrell Smith, says there are more small businesses operating in his sector than people might realise.

Darrell Smith and Graham Smith of Archway Carpets. Picture: Simply C PhotographyDarrell Smith and Graham Smith of Archway Carpets. Picture: Simply C Photography

“People notice the big companies more because they can pay for adverts on TV - but there are also quite a few small retailers too because some of the big suppliers only supply to smaller firms,” he explained.

Archway Carpets, on Church Street in Woodbridge, was set up by Mr Smith’s father, Graham Smith, and Darrell, who is now 38, took over seven years ago.

He recalled: “Sometimes as a kid, I’d help dad out - he took me out after school to do measures at people’s homes. And my mum, when she was alive, used to do our accounts.”

Since 2011, Darrell says annual turnover has increased by almost 33%. “I’m very pleased about that, but it’s taken a lot of hard work,” he said. Darrell puts some of their recent success down to being a member of Future 50.

“With Future 50, I connect with a lot of people in Suffolk and into Norfolk, and that’s hugely beneficial. Our success is also down to the success of all the micro businesses and other small businesses we network with, we are all expanding through it together.”

Archway Carpets, which employs six fitters in all, specialises in carpets but also offers vinyl, ceramics and other floorings. “With the carpets, we always try to source our suppliers from the UK because they are normally made of wool, and the quality and finish is much higher than some of the lesser quality overseas items,” Darrell explained. “We go and visit the factories ourselves and speak to the designers who make them.”

Darrell was recently contacted by a company that have requested a bespoke carpet with their own company branded motif on it, which will be the first time that Archway carpets will have been involved in such a large-scale bespoke order.

Darrell hopes that his own two sons, Ryan, 16, and Cory, 11, will take over the business one day - “but I think they have other ideas!” he added. “They can always enter the business later if they want to. I had a career with a large retailer before considering joining. It’s important to get that experience first, to see how corporate businesses works and to consider if it works well, then why, and if not then to learn from their mistakes.”

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