In a sign of the further gradual reopening of the economy, B&Q Athlone has announced the reopening of its Kitchen and Bathroom showrooms in Arcadia Retail Park.
Initially on May 18, the date when hardware shops were allowed to reopen, the showroom department remained shut while B&Q worked on putting new safety procedures in place for the post-covid world.
John Mulleady, store manager at B&Q Arcadia Athlone explained: “Our showroom designers do free consultations with the client on a shared computer screen.
“Consultations can take some time, so it wasn’t clear how this was going to work with the two-metre social distancing rules. It certainly wouldn’t have been feasible to ‘for clients to be standing tow metres away from the screen.
“We’ve always had a walk-in approach for designs whereas now, with the queuing procedures in place, we didn’t want to create a secondary queuing system inside our store. This would be frustrating for customers, so we wanted to avoid it.
“Now, with the help of some new technology, procedures have been agreed for roll-out and customers will notice some small differences.”
Gary Kenny from the B&Q showroom team explained that the main change will be the use by customers and staff of a new dual-screen computer system.
“The dual-screen system means that, while we work on the design, the clients can see all the changes on their screen and we can chat through as we always did before. It’s a simple change, but it means we are working safely within the two-metre social distancing guidelines.
“Secondly, the consultations will be by appointment only. We book in appointments in store, but probably the easiest way will be to ring the store in advance to book a time slot for your design.”
As it happens, B&Q Arcadia Athlone had installed a completely new range of kitchens- the new Good Home Kitchens range – in early March 2020, just before the Covid lock-down began.
Arcadia Retail Park’s management has welcomed the reopening. Fiachra McLoughlin, Director of Arcadia Retail Park, said: “The kitchen and bathroom showroom is an important part of B&Q’s business at Arcadia so it’s great to see it open again.
“While May 18 was a big step, this now means that the whole of the B&Q Athlone store is open again and the dual-screen system seems to be working well.”
Katie Gleeson, Marketing Manager at Arcadia Retail Park added: “B&Q Arcadia Athlone had installed a completely new range of kitchens – the Good Home range – in early March 2020 just before Covid lockdown.
” It’s a complete refresh of their kitchen range and the new range has won various customer and industry awards. So I wish the showroom the best of luck with the reopening,” she said.
CREDIT: WESTMEATH INDEPENDENT