1947 – 1960’s Housing Units Open One Small Store.
Housing Units, formed by a building and joinery company, opens a builder’s merchants on Manchester Road, Hollinwood, near the old tram station. Back then a handful of people ran the merchants and sold anything from building materials to washing machines. Even in those days Housing Units was setting a retail revolution in that it opened all day Saturday. Most other competitors shut at lunch time and this was seen as an opportunity to offer a unique service to the public.
Pretty soon Housing Units began to add other items to its collections, namely do-it-yourself and hardware products. Whilst the men were having wood cut to order, the ladies were browsing through pots and pans and later other knick and knacks and gifts.
Over the years more and more household items began to be sold and in the 60’s Housing Units first started to sell furniture to the public.
1970’s - A Second Store Is Added.
The demand for furniture had outgrown the Hollinwood store, so it was then necessary to open a store dedicated to furniture. This was opened in a former Millgate Sunday school on Hollins Road, which before was used as a warehouse.
1980's - A Third Store Is Added.
Both stores went from strength to strength and quickly ran out of space. Building materials, fireplaces and D.I.Y products were then transferred from Manchester Road to a former paint works on Wickentree Lane, becoming Housing Units third store.
1990’s – All Three Sites Merge.
During difficult times Housing Units prospered and quickly identified that to remain a leading retailer for the future, new premises would have to be found. With the possibility of the M60 going through the Manchester Road store, this store along with Millgate Furniture Centre merged to form a new impressive purpose built store in 1991 on a massive 5 acre site on Wickentree Lane.
During a recession this store grew at such a rate that new staff had to be found to cope with the demand. Following the success of the Home Furnishing Store it was decided to build an additional store on the Wickentree site to expand existing and new products.
In 1995 the Emporium and Fireplace centre was opened. A difficult decision was made during this year and it was decided that Housing Units would no longer sell building and D.I.Y products. The growth of the Home Furnishings market brought new opportunities to the business.
2000’s – New Developments
The Emporium and Fireplace Centre was enlarged early in 2000 to house a bigger and better bathroom centre and a second café.
2004 resulted in the completion of a new £4 million 67,000sq ft distribution and administration centre adjacent to the store on another 5 acre site. As the furniture business began to grow and grow, warehousing was critical and this also allowed the transferring of all administration departments to a new site. This freed up valuable space and enabled further retail development. Our state of the art warehouse further improved customer service, allowing many furniture ranges to be offered from stock.
Was the year Housing Units was recognised for its commitment to training and developemnt, receiving the Investment in People Award.
2006 was a busy year for the team at Housing Units. Both stores received a £1.5 million makeover, including a new café; new Bedroom Department, new Furniture Department and a complete new look for the Home Furnishing Store. This year Housing Units gained the UK Retailer of the year award for fires and fireplaces. Late 2006 A new development know as the cresent was opened incorporating Coo Chi Coo a nursery goods store.
Saw the Crecent established with the opening of the Kitchen Design Centre and Housing Units own carpet and flooring centre.
Saw Housing Units take over the Coo Chi Coo business and was added to the Housing Units family. The Wickentree Restaurant was opened, the venture was an instant success and now the business could offer a fine and casual dining choice. Another new unit was opened on the Cresent by Housing Units, the Furniture Outlet was created recognizing a commitment to providing even more value to cusotmers.
Was an award winning year for Housing Units securing a prestigious UK's No 1 Department store award.
Was another very busy year. A new venture known as Kids World was opened at the crescent, specialising in furniture, toys, clothes and shoes for juniors. The Wickentree restaurant was expanded to cope with demand adding more seating and a new kitchen. Another UK's No 1 Department Store Trophy was also added to the cabinet.
The 1st Floor of the Emporium and Fireplace centre was refurbished providing a stunning new fireplace, rug and Panasonic department.
2012 - Housing Units Celebrates 65 Successful Years.
During 2012, further expansion and development took place with additional floor space also being created from former offices which were replaced by a new state of the art office block, allowing the hugely successful Furniture Outlet to double in size to 5000 sq ft. All this enabled the carpets and flooring department to move into the Emporium store along with a new Elegant Living furniture department, allowing more space to be dedicated to new styles of furniture reflecting the changing fashion. Also in 2012 the Bedroom department doubled in size allowing the best range of beds to be displayed in the North and a fantastic new Chesney’s fireplace studio was opened. On the 28th September, the final phases of the Emporium developments were completed. Within the Home Furnishing Store the Cookshop and Tableware departments were refreshed and a live demonstration kitchen was also added.
Much has changed over the 65 years since the first site in 1947, but Housing Units still remains a privately owned family business who cares and is committed to providing great service, quality and value. Thank you to all customers, old and new who have allowed this to happen from all Housing Units staff.