An overnight transformation saw the Rockfield DIY store in Abergavenny close its doors for the last time one night in December 2012 - only to open as the brand new Baileys DIY the very next day.
When local BP garage-owner Ian Bailey heard that his neighbouring store, Rockfield DIY, was up for sale, he immediately made enquiries. Rockfield, at the time, owned both this store and a concession site in a shopping centre in Ross, which is also now a Baileys DIY. It had also previously owned a third store in Hereford, but this had closed following a compulsory purchase order earlier last year.
Ten out of 12 existing staff members at the Abergavenny store chose to stay on with the new 8,000 sq ft Baileys DIY store, one of them long-standing general manager PJ Godsell. "I had been with Rockfield for 24 years," he told DIY Week, "so I was really glad the decision had been made to keep the business as a DIY store.
"Ian Bailey had the advantage of knowing the business and staff really well and he jumped at the chance of a new business venture."
Since re-opening less than 24 hours after Rockfield closed its doors, business has been going well at the all-new Baileys. "The weather has not been kind to us, we've had both snow and rain to contend with," revealed Mr Godsell, "but we've taken the store in a different direction and the results so far have been very positive."
While Rockfield was known for its variety of DIY stock, Baileys has invested more in trade ranges, recognising the increasing number of trade customers in store. "We felt this was an important market to tap into," added Mr Godsell, "but we have still remained true to our DIY roots and stock a wide variety."
Another new addition has been animal food and care items, varying from hay bales and horse bedding to dog and cat food. "It's a very rural, farming community, so these lines have really taken off well," said Mr Godsell.
Another change has been a significant increase in product lines, climbing from around 8,500 up to approximately 11,500. "It is really important to us that the customer gets what they ask for as quickly as possible," said Mr Godsell.
Looking ahead, the plans are to consolidate the business as it is, and hope for some decent weather to kickstart garden and outdoor living ranges, on which the store is currently stocking up. Plans have also just been drawn up for an extension to the store, and Mr Godsell hopes to see another one or two Baileys DIY stores open over the next few years.
E-commerce is another goal on the horizon, one which the business is "actively looking at" according to Mr Godsell, who assured it was "definitely part of our future plans."
For the present, staff have been overwhelmed by the positive reactionof locals to the store takeover. Mr Godsell said: "I have been really surprised by how many people have been in to shake Ian's hand and say how glad they are that the store has stayed true to its roots."