Milestone celebrations for Macclesfield businessman

A Macclesfield businessman who went from shop assistant to company owner is celebrating his 40th year in business.

Chris Gardiner joined DIY & hardware store Vikings as a 16-year-old shop assistant, where he worked his way up the ranks into a managerial role, before eventually taking ownership of his first shop, Vikings Tytherington, when he turned 30.

After purchasing the Tytherington store in 1996, Chris steadily grew the business by opening three additional Vikings shops and launching Vikings Blinds – a provider of made-to-measure blinds across Cheshire.

Reflecting on the milestone, Chris said:

“I started at the original Vikings Wilmslow store as a 16-year-old working on the shop floor, brushing up and making brews.

“Brian Morgan, who owned Vikings at the time, was a fantastic mentor. When he decided to open a second store in Tytherington, he asked if I would manage it – I was only 21 at the time and really enjoyed working in the shops.”

“Some years later, at the age of 30, I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase the Tytherington store from Brian with my father-in-law and business partner, Tony Shortell.”

“As well as selling hardware, the shop was fitting blinds one day each week. It was a good little earner so we decided to continue fitting them, and launched Vikings Blinds to operate alongside Vikings DIY & Hardware.”

“Brian retired from Vikings in 1997 and closed the original Wilmslow store on Church Street, which I reopened a year later on our current site on Grove Arcade.””

The business continued to expand and Chris opened two further stores, one in Hale and one in Knutsford.

Chris continued:

“The business snowballed and we haven’t looked back since.”

“We still pride ourselves on offering the same personal service in our shops and are very much a family-run operation. My daughter, Jessica-May, is our accountant, my wife Anita manages the stock in our shops and my brother Keith works across our stores.”

“I am proud of the fact that Vikings Blinds never rely on sub-contractors and manage the entire buying process, from quotes, to measurement to fitment and after care – and it’s one of the reasons that we are able to continue after all of these years.”

“This hands-on approach guarantees that each installation meets our standards, providing you with peace of mind and the assurance that your blinds are in the hands of experts.”

Vikings now employee a total of 15 full and part time staff across four shops spanning Wilmslow, Knutsford, Hale and Tytherington.

Chris added:

“We’ve recently added a new line of perfect fit shutters that have been hugely popular in both residential and commercial properties – and continue to specialise in a range of room darkening systems.”

“I’d also like to thank our customers for both Vikings blinds and in our hardware stores. It’s been a turbulent time for traders during and after the pandemic – and it’s good to see that people are still keen to invest in the local economy”.

Find out more about Vikings Blinds, here.

Published On: 10 April 2024