Worktop Express Blog

Aug 31

The Worktop Express® team have been enjoying a cracking end to the summer – but we’re not the only ones! Though some might say our recent (narrow) loss against Alkerton Rangers indicates that we should forget sports and stick to selling worktops, we’re hoping to pick up some inspiration on the rugby pitch instead – and where better to start than Gloucester Rugby, another team who are currently flying high…

The team has already enjoyed a stream of success under the leadership of new director Nigel Davies – who recently moved to the club from Scarlets, where he supervised the progression of Wales internationals Jonathan Davies and George North (to name but a few). If last weekend’s 54-9 victory over Doncaster is anything to go by, the Aviva Premiership will see some fabulous rugby in the near future.

Gloucester RFC versus Northampton Saints

And it’s not only rugby that fans can spot at the Kingsholm stadium… what about a Worktop Express® pitch-side banner? Yes, as part of our continuing efforts to support our Gloucestershire community and local talent, Worktop Express® are delighted to have become official sponsors of GRFC (and its talented young player, Henry Trinder).

So if you’re thinking of taking a trip to the rugby this weekend, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a Worktop Express® logo or two: we’re proud to be the match-day sponsors for the first home game against Northampton Saints, which means you can check us out in the programme, on the big screen and you might even hear our name over the tannoy.

We’d be even more chuffed than usual to see a home victory – so best of luck for Saturday lads, Worktop Express® will be there to cheer you on!

Aug 29

Most people are familiar with the extremely popular European walnut, but what about its mysterious cousin, black American walnut? A staple of the Worktop Express® range (available in both standard and full stave variations), black walnut is much darker in hue than its European counterpart but still brings the same warmth.

Black American Walnut Kitchen Display

The timber is also bang-on trend. Where a couple of years ago fashion favoured rustic, natural finishes — oak cabinets, oak worktops, oak upstands; light, bright, organic — we’re now seeing a shift towards chocolate woods and painted cabinetry. Indeed, one of the most popular displays from our own showroom pairs black walnut worktops with delicate green cabinets (the exact shade is Farrow & Ball’s ‘Mizzle’ — the colour for this season).

You can also catch a stunning example of Worktop Express® black American walnut in an upcoming edition of Ideal Home (available from first week of October). Our worktops feature in one of their fantastic ‘reader’ kitchen pieces, providing unique insight into the home design choices made by a Worktop Express® customer and the glorious results.

Be it in Ideal Home or through a customer’s candid snaps, we’re always delighted to see our worktops in situ. If you have any pictures you’re willing to share with us, please don’t hesitate! We’d love to see how your new worktops have helped bring your kitchen style dream to life.

Aug 23

The Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo Business Awards have been a highlight of the county’s business calendar for over a decade. Renamed The Diamond Jubilee Business Awards this year in commemoration of the Queen’s celebrations, the awards present a unique opportunity to support and honour the pioneers of business in Gloucestershire.

The awards have attracted some terrific names and so when it was suggested to the team at Direct Online Services Ltd (parent company of Worktop Express®) that we might think about entering, our first reaction was humble disbelief. Surely we had no chance?

It was therefore with amazement and delight that we received the first wave of results: DOS have been shortlisted as finalists in both categories entered (Family Business of the Year and, for Will Rees, one of our directors, Young Businessperson of the Year). Both awards have been won by some truly inspirational businesses/businesspersons in the past: we’re honoured to be considered. The entire team at Direct Online Services Ltd have worked tirelessly to help the company achieve its current position and while we won’t rest on our laurels – ever striving onwards! – the awards are a wonderful consolidation of three years of sterling effort. Well done, team!

While we’re on the subject of the awards, you may have caught us in this Tuesday’s edition of Gloucestershire Echo, which featured DOS as one of the finalists and ran a great piece on our new Worktop Express® showroom. In the run-up to the awards ceremony on the 4th October there will be more interesting pieces and profiles in The Citizen and Gloucestershire Echo, so do keep an eye out!

business awards Direct Online Services LTD

Aug 21

Worktop Express vs Alkerton Rangers

As you might remember from an early blog, we’re big fans of Alkerton Rangers, an Eastington football team local to Worktop Express® HQ – such fans, in fact, that we decided to sponsor the team and provide some snazzy new uniforms.

Or so we had you believe.

Sponsorship was a mere guise; a ploy, cleverly crafted by our football-mad male employees, who longed for nothing more than to test their mettle in a match against the Rangers. Since the sponsorship was announced, the Worktop Express® Allstars football team had been biding their time, practicing on Monday evenings, just waiting for the moment to strike!

And then – at last – they got their wish. A match was set for Saturday 18th August. There was no going back…

Dan Wilson, Trade Sales Impresario by day, Matt Le Tissier Mark II by night, will now share his recollections of that epic day:

The Date: Saturday 18th of August

The Match: Worktop Express® Allstars v Alkerton Rangers

The Kick Off: 10.30am

It was the first time we have played the team we sponsor – and although it was Misfits vs Professionals we were hungry for the challenge!

You may note from the picture that the Worktop Express® Allstars team is a little slim compared to the Alkerton Rangers – and indeed the game got off to a slightly unorthodox beginning as we had to borrow a player whilst waiting for the rest of our team to arrive. Amateurs, eh…

Anyway, let the commentary begin!

KICK OFF

- We settled into our positions and a darting run by Sean Burford, coupled with a lucky deflection, led to an unlikely opening goal for Worktop Express® Allstars! Sean took the chance like a seasoned pro, burying the ball into the bottom corner with his unfavoured left foot.

- Alkerton were visibly riled by this and spent the next 10 mins pressing the WEA net. After 10 minutes of pressure, a break through the defence led to a good finish. 1-1!

- Not to be defeated, WEA gathered themselves again, and the introduction of some fresh legs to the pitch meant a resurgence in attacking play. Shortly after WEA took the lead again, through a fine effort from Tom Haines from all of 20yards. 2-1!

- Alkerton would not give up! They once again persisted in long balls over the top of our ageing defence and on this occasion found success once more, 2-2, what a game! The crowd were beside themselves…

- With time running out in the first half, WEA tried a new and untried tactic, with excellent results. Stuart Brown stepped up to take a goal kick, with the ambition of clearing the Alkerton defence and for Tom Haines to latch on to, for his second…which he did in style!! 3-2 WEA, was it possible!!????

- With the rain holding off and the air temp gradually rising, players found that their legs were only just holding out. Half time couldn’t come quickly enough.

HALF TIME

- Refreshed and rejuvenated both teams entered the pitch once more. The battle scars from the first half were evident on the muddied shirts of many a WEA player.

- But the side-lines had now been bolstered by the arrival of the ‘Chairman’ of the club (Managing Director Mr M P Rees): perhaps this would be enough to maintain the lead.

- Alkerton started the better and peppered the WEA goal, now tended by Marcin Samelczak, but with little luck or accuracy. Marcin stood his ground and made some excellent saves.

- WEA now saw this as an opportunity for the counterattack. Sweeping balls across the 6 yard line and several corners from the likes of Stuart Brown and Dan Wilson came close to extending the WEA lead. Close but no cigar.

-Alas: time was ticking on, and unfortunately the average age of the WEA team, combined with the lack of experience playing together as a team, began to show. Alkerton drew level with a well-worked goal halfway through the second period.

- With all the will in the world, WEA tried to hang on for the last 10 minutes. Weary legs everywhere, last ditch tackles from the 2 sturdy centre backs apart, we could do little to hold off the final onslaught. Alkerton pipped us to the post with a goal just minutes from the end.

-As the ref’s whistle blew we knew that although the record books would show a loss, in WEA hearts this had been a victory for the ‘misfits’ and Alkerton were dignified enough to even admit that they had had a lucky escape.

FINAL SCORE; WEA 3 – ALKERTON RANGERS – 4

Perhaps next time the story will be different – might there be a Worktop Express® Allstars victory in the distant future?! – but for now, a big well done to all those who participated.

Aug 17

Full Stave OakOne of the things we love most about solid wood is its versatility. The Worktop Express® creative team are always brimming with ideas about how we can maximise the flexibility of our products – from ellipse ends to butchers’ blocks, the possibilities for customisation are endless.

And what about worktops outside of the kitchen? Modern kitchens are more and more frequently used for dining and entertaining as well as food preparation, but there’s no reason why a fine-quality worktop can’t be used as a centrepiece in any room in the modern home, office (we use iroko worktops for desks here at Worktop Express® HQ!) or restaurant.

wagamama logoThose clever kids at wagamama – the hugely successful restaurant chain specialising in Japanese-inspired cuisine – had the same idea when furnishing their new Fulham branch. The light and airy décor customers have come to expect from wagamama is as fresh as the food – a perfect match for our full-stave oak worktops, which will be used as long table tops and benches in this particular branch. The project is ongoing so stay tuned for more news on that in the future!

In the meantime, why not try something new with your own worktop? Send us a picture! The customer who has used a worktop the most inventively will win a free chopping board in the timber of his/her choosing. We would love to hear from you!

Aug 14

It’s been all about oak recently – not only have orders been flying out of our warehouse but Worktop Express® oak worktops have also featured on several television programmes!

Here at Worktop Express® we have no favourite: we love all our timbers equally. But that doesn’t stop some timbers from thinking they rule the pack. Yes, Oak, we’re looking at you – with all this extra attention you’ve been getting a little big for your boots. Sure, you’re a great choice, with your attractive grain structure and warm colour; sure, you’re fantastically hard-wearing and durable; sure, you’re great value… but it never hurts to be modest!

channel 5 logoSo move over, Oak: it’s time for the equally fabulous European Walnut to take a well-deserved turn in the spotlight, venturing onto the small screen as part of a Channel 5 home-makeover show. We were thrilled when these wonderful photos – taken on set – arrived in our inbox last week. As can be seen, our worktops were featured in a fantastic set that allowed the timber to shine.

European Walnut pairs beautifully with a contemporary setting and is equally at home within a traditional design scheme, so the timber really offers something for every taste. In this set, we love how the naturally vibrant wood has been used to accent the green and white colour scheme, creating a sort of modern ‘forest’ look.

Stay tuned for more details on when you can check out this episode and catch European Walnut in the leading role!

channel 5 walnut worktopchannel 5 walnut worktop

channel 5 walnut worktopchannel 5 walnut worktop

Aug 09

The weather might be picking up at last but this summer Worktop Express® customers have chosen to work on their kitchens instead of their tans! The hugely popular summer sale, ever-expanding range of products and our 2Man Delivery service means that Worktop Express® orders have been flying out at an unprecedented rate.

Fabrication and Installation have also been enjoying a real boom. The workshop team have completed more successful orders per day than ever before, cutting and shaping our glorious Worktop Express® worktops all day, every day, to meet demand. Increased demand has also seen the Installation team travelling from our native Gloucestershire to customers’ homes across the UK.

As a result of all this hard work, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve now passed the 90,000 order mark and we’re steadily creeping up to 100,000! The biggest thanks we owe is to you – the customer – for choosing us. Thank you for supporting Worktop Express® and we hope to help you again in the future!

Aug 07

In recent months two Worktop Express® staff members have been working really hard to raise money for charity, so we’d like to take a moment to say a big ‘Well Done!’ and share their efforts with you.

Emily Trotter and Danielle Terrett, two key members of our sales and logistics departments, hoped to raise as much money as possible for cancer support through their individual endeavours.

Danielle and the Race for Life

Danielle and the Race for Life

Danielle decided to enter the Race for Life Gloucester 5K. She has a deep personal connection with the cancer research cause as her ‘Bampy’ was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago; in her words: ‘if it wasn’t for all the people who have ran before to help fund the scientists to continue their research, then he would no longer be here’.

Determined to raise as much as possible to support cancer research for future generations, Danielle jogged the 5K on 17th June 2012, finishing in 43 minutes and raising £204. A brilliant achievement.

Emily and the Team Macmillan Ben Nevis Hiking Challenge

Emily and Ben Nevis Hiking Challenge

Emily entered the Macmillan challenge to climb Ben Nevis. The Macmillan Cancer Support charity has a special place in Emily’s heart, as it provided outstanding support to the mother of a close friend during her cancer struggle (Emily’s friend also completed the hike). Furthermore Emily’s own nephew was recently given the all clear after being diagnosed with cancer, strengthening her resolve to raise as much money as possible for the charity.

Around fifty people took part in the climb on Saturday 30th June; Emily and her companions were the first in their group to the top, completing the hike in 6 hours. Alone Emily has raised £595 and in total the challenge has raised a whopping £47, 911 – fantastic!

Awe-inspiring efforts, girls: a huge well done to you both. We’re proud of you!

Aug 02

How we love the Worktop Express® fabrication team. With years of experience and a wealth of knowledge on solid wood products, these members of staff are craftsmen in their own right – we can hand them the most complicated of diagrams/most specific of measurements and they finish the job without breaking a sweat (okay, sometimes there is sweat but it’s the healthy glow of hard toil…)

Sadly, these skilled professionals are often the unsung heroes of our team: so this month we’ve decided it’s time for a shout-out!

Below are some shining examples of their best work from our recent batch of fabrication orders. Please enjoy:

Fabrication - Walnut - Large Radius
Walnut Worktop with Large Radius Corner

Fabrication - American Walnut - EllipseAmerican Walnut Ellipse Worktop