Beds retailer founder reaches 50 year milestone; hints at retirement

The founder of independent beds retailer Now to Bed is celebrating 50 years in the trade and has revealed that retirement discussions are underway.

Paul Burnet began his furniture industry career back in 1973 as a salesperson for Courts Furnishers in Penzance, Cornwall.

From there, Paul transferred to the Portsmouth branch where he reflects on some key moments in his industry. “I worked with some wonderful colleagues and had two very enjoyable years in Portsmouth. I remember working at the Ideal Home in London on the Courts stand for the very first time, excited – terrifying – and enjoyable all rolled into one for a 21-year-old.

“Two years later I gained promotion to the Courts City centre store in Birmingham as Assistant Manager to my dear friend Ron Farris. It was a fantastic experience in the two years I worked in Birmingham meeting some wonderful customers and gaining some invaluable experience in store management.”

In 1978, Paul secured his first store management position at the age of 23 in Rhyl, North Wales, when Courts took over an established company ‘Rhydwyn Jones & Davies’. “After a very successful three years in Rhyl I took over the management of the Cardiff city centre store,” he said. “This move allowed me to test all my abilities and call on the experiences I had gained over the years with Courts as it was a very busy store with the usual demands of the manager running a city centre store back in those days with no Internet sales (thank goodness). One of my right hand men in Cardiff was Dilwyn Weymouth, who is still very active in the trade today.”

Then in 1984 Paul decided to start his own furniture business and P J Furnishings was born in Rhyl. “My wife Susan and I had great fun growing this business for over 11 years before selling it to pursue other Interests,” he said. “However, I missed the trade and before long I found myself working with Bruce & Peter Cohen in Ireland at Cost Plus Sofas.”

Upon returning to Wales in 2013, Paul started his very own bed business ‘Now to Bed’ which has shown steady growth due to the hard work of his family and staff, as well as the continued support from all their suppliers over the last 10 years.

“It has been an exciting journey, one of which I am immensely proud of,” Paul said. “The proudest moment came when we were presented with the ‘Small Retailer of the Year’ at the NBF Bed Show Gala Dinner in September last year in 2022 and again as ‘Finalist’ this year. The hard work from all of the team was rewarded on that one occasion.

“Another milestone was the opening of our flagship store on Clwyd Retail Park, which is the biggest collection of quality beds and mattresses in North Wales.

“Retirement has been discussed and I’m sure that will come round soon enough, as my son Tom continues to steer the business in the right direction. I’m convinced with the continued support of all our longstanding suppliers our family business will continue to move forward and thrive for many years to come.

“In retirement I hope to enjoy my spare time playing golf, walking, travelling and spending valuable time with my wonderful family. It’s been some career!”

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