Like many great retail stores, Classic Timber Furniture began from humble beginnings; the story tracing back to 1975 when David Gronow opened up a small in-store only furniture business on Carrington Street called The Whitewood Centre.
Through perseverance the store grew to become what is known today as Classic Timber Furniture; a South Australian icon. Since its early beginnings the store has prospered with David handing over the reins to his daughter Kimberly, whom with the assistance of her husband and high school sweet heart James now run the successful family business. James and Kimberly explained to us what makes their business so unique.
“My Family immigrated from the south of Wales when I was 5.” Kim explains. “After accepting a job as a children’s clothing buyer, my father decided that he wanted to open a small furniture business in Carrington Street in the city; this was back in 1975. They sold mainly raw pine furniture that people would lacquer or stain themselves." Kimberly explains.
It was through help from friend’s interstate that the business really took off when an opportunity to purchase Tasmanian Blackwood furniture presented itself to Kim’s parents.
“My parents had the opportunity to buy some beautiful Tasmanian Blackwood furniture that was hand crafted by carpenters in Tasmania. I believe the quality of the range made them decide to open a store and call it Classic Timber Furniture. Since raw pine furniture was becoming less fashionable they decided to amalgamate the store and move the business to its current location on Anzac Highway.” Kim explains.
The remarkable growth of this business goes hand in hand with commitment to the cause by three generations of Kim's family.
“James is the CEO of Classic Timber, whilst my role is predominantly in buying and marketing” Kimberly tells us. “My parents no longer have an active role in the business but continue to hold an interest and are a very supporting influence, offering advice where needed. The newest generation to help Classic Timber Furniture flourish is our eldest son Todd, he has taken on an active role currently working on our online strategy including the website and other media platforms as well as customer service.”
"Our Family prides themselves on great customer service, we always try to go above and beyond a customers needs, I think that's what authentic about us" James | Classic Timber Furniture CEO
Authentic and genuine is the way in which Classic Timber Furniture aims to be perceived within the world of retail furniture.
“Our main focus is to provide people with quality furniture at affordable prices.” James explains, “But more than that we aim to make the entire process a positive experience, from shopping in-store, to the delivery of furniture, we want the customer to come away feeling happy and sure that they've bought the right furniture to suit their house and their needs.”
Kimberly goes on further to say, “Our sales team are personable and have fantastic product knowledge. They know what looks good and are always happy to help customers with designing their own space. We also have very personable delivery drivers, who will take all purchased furniture inside and place it exactly where the client wants it to go, as well as take away any rubbish.”
Kimberly and James explain that the family prides themselves on providing quality products ensuring that all pieces are meant for longevity.
“We update our furniture ranges regularly to provide variety.” James explains, “It’s of the utmost importance to us to have stock available in order to limit waiting periods.”
Kimberly adds, “When our clients falls in love with something we aim to have it in their home as soon as possible. We have an amazing homewares department and merchandise our stores beautifully to inspire clients with creative ideas that they may replicate in their own homes. We pride ourselves on service. This is why we are modest with our delivery fees; our delivery team take great satisfaction in the feedback they receive from clients after they deliver and remove packaging and rubbish.” Kim says.
Often receiving correspondence and reviews from their customers praising the individual service of Classic Timber Furniture’s sales and delivery staff, Kim and James humbly acknowledged their efforts to go the extra mile for clients.
“It makes all of the hard work worth it, knowing that you have made someone extremely happy with the service provided. It definitely gives me warm fuzzies and a sense of pride. I recently received an email from a lovely client named Julie thanking us for our effort. She wrote: ‘I want to praise your staff for their excellent customer service yesterday and today. I bought an outdoor setting yesterday and was very impressed with your staff at the Anzac Highway store. They were helpful without being too pushy, just offering genuine service. I bought the suite yesterday, received a phone call in the afternoon re. Delivery time and at 8.45am today it was delivered by two very polite young men.’ It’s nice when people take the time to appreciate the service that you provide.’ Smiles Kimberley.
Kim and James’s passion for their products is displayed through their extensive variety of solid wood furnishings, “Our solid Australian hardwood furniture has a beautiful appeal for those who value the organic nature of wood.” James explains, “We have dining, entertainment, occasional, bedroom and outdoor furniture made from Australian timbers such as Tasmanian oak, Marri, Blackwood and Jarrah. Solid timber furniture is long lasting, which is why there is such a solid timber focus within Classic Timber Furniture’s ranges, that being said, we do like to provide for everyone so we have sourced fantastic quality veneer products as well”.
Although the business is expanding rapidly, with the possibility of opening a store in Melbourne, Kimberly and James are forthright about their love for South Australia.
“Adelaide is a beautiful city.” Says Kimberly, “I have had the opportunity to travel the world, however, I have lived here most of my life. I always tell people it is great to take a break from Adelaide for a change of pace but it’s a wonderful place to come home to. We have many wonderful restaurant’s, a beautiful countryside and in my opinion some of the best beaches in the world.” Kim says.“We love to escape from our hectic lifestyle to the southern Fleurieu Peninsular at a place called Carrickalinga beach."
"The sand is white and on a perfect day the ocean and the sunset are truly cinematic. Living in Adelaide is definitely a great lifestyle choice for us.” Kimberley | Classic Timber Furniture
With passion for excellent customer service and family values instilled in the business it’s hard not to feel appreciation towards Kim and James’s efforts at Classic Timber Furniture.
“Sometimes it feels like we are one big family.” Todd laughs. “Our staff are loyal and have a sense of ownership and know that they are trusted to do the best they can. We encourage a positive flexible working environment and respectful team work amongst the staff. We regularly hold staff social events and even though they are an eclectic bunch everyone gets along really well, some of our team having been with us for over 25 years.” adds Kimberly.
Classic Timber Furniture is, in essence, a great store distinguished by its combination of core family values and excellent customer service. In our opinion, Classic Timber Furniture’s future certainly looks bright and enduring, just like their classic hardwood furniture.
House of Home would like to thank Kimberly and James from Classic Timber Furniture for speaking with us about their unique South Australian store.