When the opportunity to sit down with Garry Smith, the newly appointed Managing Director at Barons arose, we leapt at the chance to discuss how this leading commercial furniture manufacturer has honed its products and services to ensure a comprehensive range of styles and designs, coupled with outstanding customer service. We discover some of the history and development that has led to Barons delivering everything their customers need and expect, with the bonus of those little extra-friendly touches that make all the difference!
Alabany Lodge, communal lounge
Garry Smith held the role of Sales Director at Barons for 10 years before acquiring the business, along with UK investors. Garry has been central to the growth and development of the business, and in June 2023 he took on the role of Managing Director, taking the reins following the retirement of Andrew and Rachel Rosser, Barons’ previous Chairperson and Managing Director.
Could you tell me about the heritage of Barons?
Barons manufacturing facilities, Lancashire
We are a well-established contract furniture manufacturer, celebrating 50 years of manufacturing and trading in the UK.
Originally set up in 1973 by Jack Roberts and David Dunn from a domestic retail shop located in Blackpool, it was Jack and David’s willingness to adapt to customer requirements that led their, then rare, specialist provision to the care sector. Jack and David were approached by a local care home to supply lounge chairs for their residents, they didn’t know it then but that started the journey to becoming one of the leading contract furniture suppliers to the care and senior living sectors in the UK.
Some years later Andrew and Rachel Rosser started to work with Jack and David and that’s when the Barons’ journey really started to develop. Andrew and Rachel later took the business over, growing and developing it into the successful business you recognise today.
Since I joined the business 10 years ago, Barons has continued to grow, and we are now one of the UK’s leading healthcare furniture providers. Ergonomic and adjustable designs, smart anti-microbial, fire retardant, and water-resistant fabrics have changed the face of the care sector furniture and soft furnishing provision. Coupled with a much wider and improved choice of furniture styles and fabric designs, all these factors have been key in the growth and advance Barons has made since the early days.
In June 2023 I was formally appointed as Managing Director and, together with backing from UK investors, we are now at the beginning of an exciting new period of growth and development!
What sets Barons apart in the commercial sector?
Avery Health Care – Derby Heights, Littleover
We are very proud to be a UK manufacturer that adheres to strict quality control and service level measures. Our excellent customer service is second to none; the team is passionate about delivering a first-class level of support, from initial inquiry through to final delivery and after-sales service.
New materials, manufacturing techniques, embracing new technology, and the development of an efficient business model have transformed Barons. The industry experience and expertise developed within the business help to drive new products and innovations, and this, along with a collaborative approach, supporting, and listening to our customers has enabled us to establish a strong product offering and build successful long-standing customer relationships.
Members of the Baron’s Team
We also actively encourage our customers to visit our showroom but when this isn’t possible our unique ‘Display Van Service’, a mobile extension of our showroom facility, allows new and existing customers to view and test the furniture and the latest fabric samples. It is also an excellent way to encourage resident buy-in; it’s a much-loved and appreciated service that operates across the whole of the UK.
Could you talk me through 3 key projects you’ve supplied?
Avery Health Care – Derby Heights, Littleover
Avery Health Care – Derby Heights, Littleover: We recently completed a new build project for Avery Healthcare. We have worked with Avery for almost 10 years and supported their projects across the UK on their New Build Programmes we believe the strong relationship between our Key Account Manager and the Avery team is key to this success, they work closely together to identify products and fabrics which meet the project’s specific design and function brief.
Adlington Retirement Living – The Sidings, Lytham
Adlington Retirement Living – The Sidings, Lytham: Adlington is one the leading providers of senior living, they take a contemporary approach to their services and interior designs. We have supplied their latest four developments in Lytham, Menston, Wylde Green, and Stockport. We liaise with Adlington’s talented designers and supply the full range of furniture requirements, including soft furnishings and the latest accessories needed to complete the finishing touches of a project.
Gilling Dod Architects – Anchor Hanover – The Standard, Standish
Gilling Dod Architects – Anchor Hanover – The Standard, Standish: We were approached by industry-renowned architect and design practice Gilling Dod Architects to work with them to fulfill the Anchor Hanover contract, supplying furniture and soft furnishings on Anchor’s recent three new build projects. Our team project managed all three projects to completion, working closely with the Gilling Dod team to ensure their vision for the project was fulfilled, with regular visits to our showroom by the Gilling Dod team to select specific fabrics and products.
Do you also provide bespoke furniture solutions?
Barons’ skilled upholsterers
As a UK manufacturer with our own highly skilled employees, we have the flexibility to manufacture bespoke furniture solutions and to fully meet, and exceed, our customers’ expectations.
Our newly appointed Product Development Team welcomes collaboration with our customers on the design of new products and this helps drive innovation within our product portfolio and the sector in general. This process includes the design and development of bespoke upholstered ranges and bedroom furniture and often sees us working closely with architects and interior designers to fulfill their vision for the care and senior living service providers and their residents and employees.
How does your company address sustainability and what are your sustainability targets?
Barons’ showroom, Lancashire
We work with all our suppliers to encourage and promote sustainability and sustainable best practice throughout our supply chain. We are ISO 14001 certified and have invested in the installation of LED lighting across all the factory spaces, as well as having introduced a clean, green transport fleet.
We also work with local charities including Emmaus, a charity working to support those trying to find a way out of homelessness and encourage customers to reuse and repurpose furniture wherever possible.
What does the future hold for Barons?
Our key objective is to continue to grow and develop new product ranges which are at the core of our business, increase capacity, reduce lead times, and continue to improve service levels. We are committed to supporting our customers throughout the planning, manufacturing, and installation of their projects and beyond, this ethos has led to extremely high customer satisfaction and fantastic loyalty to Barons.
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