Ever since Gardinia was founded in 1983 we’ve been selling repair parts to tradesmen, at the time this wasn’t something we advertised. Tradesmen knew Gardinia manufactured, so would call in on the off chance we had a part that would enable them to undertake a repair.
Over the years we gradually started selling more and more repair parts locally in Huddersfield, this started off in a small office at the back of the building which was used as a stock room. Eventually our stock holdings outgrew this small office and it was converted back to an office that was used by our service engineer and surveyor:
The next stage was making use of currently unused space at the back of the Gardinia Windows premises, this has remained unused since the company ceased manufacturing in the early 2000’s, so was ideal to store much larger stock quantities for what would eventually become Upvc Spares 4 Repairs.
In the mid 2000’s broadband was becoming the norm in the UK and the general public were becoming more confident making online purchases. Gardinia general manager Allan Hinchliffe recognised eCommerce was the future and desired to take Gardinia national using the internet.
The name UPVC Spares 4 Repairs was decided upon for our on-line presence and the upvcspares4repairs.co.uk domain name was registered on February 2nd 2007.
The First Generation Website:
In April 2008 the first generation Upvc Spares 4 Repairs website launched, after a years worth of development which involved photographing over 400 products, creating detailed technical diagrams for the products and much more work behind the scenes Upvc Spares 4 Repairs was unleashed upon the world.
Below is a screenshot of our first website, although this website looks very primitive by today’s standards it stood the test of time and proved selling window and door repair parts on the internet was a viable business model:
In addition to accepting credit / debit card payments, PayPal payments were also accepted from day one. The idea behind this was to give customers who didn’t have much confidence in using their credit / debit card on the internet another secure option to pay. This still proves a very popular payment method today in 2018.
The Second Generation Website:
On January 26th 2012 the second generation Upvc Spares 4 Repairs website launched.
After many months of work getting 1000’s of products listed, creating technical diagrams and lots more work behind the scenes the new second generation website was launched. Improvements over the old website include a trade gateway allowing us to offer discounts for trade customers, Google Shopping integration and an overall easier site to navigate, with a sleek modern look. We also commissioned a modern logo to be designed by a local graphics designer, this set the foundation for the Upvc Spares4Repairs house style used today:
Over time with our new website the number of orders increased, it got to the point where one person could no longer take all the items to the post office. It became a two person job.
Below is a photo taken one busy afternoon as we waited in line at the post office, needless to say with two bags full of orders and several window mechanisms in tubes we often got some very dirty looks from people waiting behind us at the local post office…
Eventually it got to the point where we had to have three people taking up all the orders, at that point Royal Mail were happy to start visiting us to collect our packages on a daily basis, much to the relief of other regular customers in the post office I imagine!
The Third Generation Website:
On 27th May 2015 the third generation of the upvcspares4repairs.co.uk website launched.
By this time a significant proportion of traffic to our website came from mobile and tablet devices, so this website was built from the ground up to be a friendly as possible when shopping on mobile devices.
The Spares 4 Repairs website was now responsive, meaning it will adapt to the size of the screen the website was been browsed on. This made it easily possible to easily place orders from mobile and tablet devices when our trade customers were out on site. In addition the website now integrated with Royal Mail and TNT, allowing us to offer next business day delivery options, along with more more competitive shipping prices to non UK mainland destinations.
We were now able to automate a lot of what happened behind the scenes when a customers order was processed, allowing the same number of people to process ten times the number of orders in a shorter amount of time.
This is where the Spares4Repairs side of the business started to rapidly grow as our third generation websites was also integrated in to Ebay and Amazon, allowing for our entire product catalogue of several 1000’s of products to be sold on both market places, in addition to our own website.
Our warehouse was often overflowing and we regularly had stock overflowing in to our boardroom as shown below:
A decision was made to extend our warehouse, this involved knocking through the small office where Spares 4 Repairs started and in to our boardroom, allowing the capacity of the warehouse to significantly increase.
You might remember the small office at the back office we pictured above, here is a work in progress photo of when we’d started expanding our warehouse in to this area:
The same again, viewed from the opposite angle:
Lots of additional storage for many new repair products was created in what used to be our boardroom:
The end result was significantly increased warehouse capacity, allowing us to easily cope with all the additional product lines we desired to stock:
As you can see many bags of orders were now been collected by Royal Mail each day, this photo only shows our standard parcel size items, not the long length items we have to send via a courier due to their size. Needless to say we have long since passed the days of walking to the post office with the daily orders:
Thanks to our current user friendly, highly optimised website we started getting significantly more enquiries from homeowners and keen DIY enthusiasts. With that in mind we decided to start producing YouTube videos for the Spares4Repairs YouTube channel to assist our customers with those more tricky repairs, enabling less experienced customers to have the confidence to undertake a repair. Today we have produced approximately 70 videos.
Below, a behind the scenes photo of one of our video shoots. Many of the videos have been filmed in the Gardinia showroom:
When looking though our archives for photos and screenshots to use in this blog I also found an old photo from one of our annual company new year meals.
Back in January 2012 we met Richard Thorp at Da Sandro in Huddersfield when out for annual company new year meal. You will probably best know Richard for playing Alan Turner in the ITV soap Emmerdale. Richard was staying in the hotel next door for a few nights, he was up from his home in Wales filming some scenes for Emmerdale. We invited Richard to join us after his meal, which he happily accepted and spent the next hour chatting to us.
So what’s next for the future? all I can say at present is we’re getting close to launching the fourth generation of our website which focuses on making it even easier for customers to identify and order the correct replacement part from our vast stock holdings.
I will leave you with a sneak preview of our soon to be new website below:
If you’re looking for that hard to find Upvc Window or Door repair part, why not checkout our Upvc Spares 4 Repairs online store? If its Upvc we can help!