Independent builders merchants, Ridgeons, are launching a major facility showcasing products and advice for those planning, designing and building homes for people who are older or have a disability.
The brand new Ridgeons Independent Living Centre, located south of Cambridge and minutes from the A11, M11 and A505, will be opened on April 29 2008.
The building provides 10,000 sq ft, and has an open central space for browsing, private rooms for consultation, and a bright, welcoming coffee shop. Most of the space is used to showcase products, with 6,000 sq ft devoted to this purpose, and split into three areas.
The first is for kitchens and bathrooms and will include rise and fall kitchen units, walk-in baths and wet rooms. The central area holds small product displays and technical assistance items such as remote control units, and communication aids. There is also an area for testing large items including beds and chairs; and mobility products such as scooters, power chairs and wheelchairs.
The company is employing two occupational therapists available on-site during opening hours to advise on the best choice of products and demonstrate their use. Two sales representatives, specially trained in product developments and applications, have been appointed to reach the key trade markets, including architects, construction and planning professionals.
The investment into the project comes from the company’s own resources, and is part of its overall diversification and expansion plan based on in-house brainstorming, and two years of research and planning, designed to take it well into the 21st century.
Forecast growth in the older population of the Eastern region is one of the highest in the UK, and Ridgeons’ new offering will extend its market into the six counties of the East of England. The company’s own research showed that for major purchases, people were willing to travel up to 45 minutes, and East Anglia’s main centres of population are all well within this time frame from the location.