Equestrian Blog

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Summer Days, Drifting Away

It’s been a busy few weeks here at Robinsons and we’re now gearing ourselves up for a busy few months to come - right up to Christmas!
Last week, our Design team sent all our catalogue pages to the printers, just before the deadline - which means they’ll be arriving on a doormat near you from about the middle of August. You’ll also find them inserted into the August 21st and 28th issues of Horse & Hound and also the September 11th issue of Your Horse. If you haven’t seen what it looks like yet, here’s a picture of the front cover.
With the catalogue gone, this week usually marks the passing of the summer’s biggest project. This year, as you may have heard, we have another project on our hands…
We’re very pleased to say that in autumn, we’ll be opening our second superstore – in Cannock, Staffordshire. At 10,000 square feet, it’ll be one of the biggest equestrian stores in the country and it’s only 5 minutes’ drive from the motorway network.
Of course, this means that we have quite a lot to do to create a store worthy of the high expectation it will undoubtedly generate. As I type, it is still an empty shell of a building with loads to do before we can even begin to decorate it, let alone fill it with stock.
Naturally, we can’t really say yet what the ‘opening date’ will be so we’ve done the next best thing which is to be a bit vague and say “opening autumn 2008”. If you read an earlier blog of mine, The Perils of Success, you’ll also know that we learned some valuable lessons about the hype that can go with a store opening. With this in mind, we decided that we won’t have a particularly grand opening. We’ll just open as quickly as possible and then tell as many people as we can once we’ve opened.
All of this extra work in turn means that we have even more work to do to promote the new store. We can’t be arrogant enough to presume that every rider in the country reads our catalogue or visits our website. There will be a lot of people for us to tell all about it and we’ve got to find them. Again, using our experience at the Ashton store in 2003, even years after we actually opened the shop, we found we were asked when we would be re-opening. We certainly can’t take for granted that people will just find out about things like this and we’ll do all we can to raise awareness.
To that end, we’ve decided to attend three large shows in the Midlands. I’m pleased to say that we’re now the title sponsors of the Robinsons 2008 Midland Championships, the ‘finals’ of the Midland Association of Riding Clubs, held at Rodbaston College, Staffordshire on 30th and 31st August.
In October, we’ll make a welcome return to the Horse of the Year Show at the NEC, Birmingham (8th-12th). While visitors to HOYS come from all over the country, its location inevitably means that Midland riders will be well represented. The same will be true of Your Horse Live at the National Agricultural Centre at Stoneleigh between 7th and 9th November, where you can also find our stand.
Based on the reaction this story has already generated within The Robinsons Online Riding Club, our Facebook group, perhaps I can guess your next question: When will we be opening a store in your area?
As you can imagine, we're going to be very busy with this new store this year but don’t rule it out at some stage. I think the message that you may take from this is that we're taking seriously the idea of retail expansion. Obviously, it’s far too early to say any more than that at this stage, but if you’re not from the North West or the West Midlands, I hope you're encouraged that we're at least thinking about it now.
As the sign says, Watch This Space!

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