A History of White Stores
Welcome to White Stores, the outdoor living store. At White Stores, we have a long history of selling and producing not only garden furniture but garden accessories and now our very own Christmas collection.
The reason we don’t just focus on garden furniture is because we understand that outdoor living is more than just having somewhere to sit outdoors, it is about the feeling you get when you spend time with loved ones, it's about the small pleasures in life like a barbecue with friends or a cosy evening drink with a partner - which is why the concept of outdoor living requires more than just furniture.
Our collection of parasols and bases, outdoor heating, outdoor lighting, fire pits and fire bowls and garden furniture covers all add to the practicality, style and ambience of your outdoor space, making al fresco dining, sunbathing or relaxing with family a more enjoyable and quality experience.
To understand White Stores and our experience in the outdoor living industry, we have put together the timeline below so you can learn more about who we are and trust in our quality materials and designs.
James Whiteley, a young entrepreneur launches cushionsdirect.co.uk which sells garden furniture cushions, ranging from seat pads to bench cushions, as well as parasols and bases.
In April, Cushions Direct adds bean bags, garden furniture covers, and garden games to its range. In June, the range expands even further, adding hammocks and beach mats. November sees the addition of awnings, outdoor heating and, as a step in the right direction towards the White Stores you know today, resin garden furniture. In December, cane furniture, which is designed for conservatories, was also made part of the growing collection on offer.
In 2007 the garden furniture category began to grow, and James Whiteley added stainless steel, resin weave (soon to be known as rattan garden furniture), teak and hardwood garden furniture, including a range of garden furniture benches, to the collection.
Throughout 2008 Cushions Direct sees steady growth and begins to understand more and more about the garden furniture industry.
Due to the confusion of selling this vast range of different products under the name Cushions Direct, in April 2009 the firm became known as Stores Direct and began launching individual microsites and niche product websites all under the umbrella of Stores Direct.
The range continued to expand, adding chimeneas and firepits to the collection and beginning to work with top brands such as La Hacienda, famed for its outdoor heating solutions. Then, at the end of 2010, Stores Direct rebranded and finally became White Stores.
Under the new name White Stores, the business moved into a new head office and launched its first UK showroom in Essex. As White Stores grew, a sister site called BBQs Direct was launched and the firm started working with barbecue specialists Outback BBQs.
For the first time ever, in 2012, White Stores imported products directly from the Far East. Previously, White Stores had always worked with UK wholesalers, however this meant that you, the customer, suffered by having to pay more to cover the costs of the “middleman”. By importing our own goods directly from the Far East and cutting out the middleman, we were able to not only offer a much cheaper cost to our customers but we were also able to pick and develop furniture styles that we thought out customers would like the most.
It was also the first year that White Stores began selling artificial Christmas trees under the sister site xmastrees.co.uk.
In February 2013, White Stores starts working under the tag line the outdoor department store as we were selling several ranges of garden furniture as well as a huge collection of outdoor accessories. This was also the year that White Stores integrated Christmas products into its own site, not just the sister site xmastrees.co.uk and began selling Christmas lights, Christmas figures and characters as well as a huge selection of artificial and fibre optic Christmas trees.
In September, White Stores rebrands their tagline from the outdoor department store to the outdoor living store - which it is still known as today - due to a shift in focus that lead to the business being more specialised in products associated with outdoor living and not just a department store that would sell anything and wasn’t necessarily specialist in that area.
In this year, White Stores also opened its first logistics centre in Leigh-on-Sea, making delivery times faster for consumers.
White Stores launches its second UK showroom in Oxford, within Yarnton Nurseries Garden Centre. This year White Stores also gave back to the community by supporting the charity Greenfingers by donating 10% of our net sales for one day. Greenfingers is a national charity dedicated to supporting life-limited children who spend time in hospices around the UK by creating inspiring gardens for them to relax in.
2015 was also a great year for awards, as a business White Stores won the growing business of the year award and James Whiteley won the young entrepreneur of the year award.
Due to outgrowing the warehouse capacity at an alarming rate, we moved into the enormous Earls Colne warehouse which has a 50,000 sq. ft. capacity, which allows us to hold items in stock and deliver to our customers within a couple of days.
This year saw White Stores open its third and fourth UK showrooms in Ipswich and Enfield. The Ipswich showroom is located in Bypass Nurseries in Capel St. Mary and the Enfield showroom is located in Phoenix Rose Home & Gardens in Crews Hill.
In 2018, whilst we closed our Oxford showroom, we started a close working relationship with Nova Garden Furniture, allowing us to expand our range of garden furniture and develop fresh and exciting outdoor living ideas using market trends and customer feedback.
Following the closure of the Oxford showroom in the previous year, we expanded our locations across the UK by opening not one, not two, but three new showrooms. The new locations were Windlesham in Surrey, Yeovil in Somerset and Mere Park in Shropshire.
As we celebrate White Stores 15th year of trading, we are proud to say that we currently import over 450 containers of garden furniture and garden accessories per year. With 6 showrooms located throughout the UK, a large warehouse facility and the ability to import directly from the Far East it means that we can offer quick delivery times, cost-effective prices and top-quality products to our customers.
In the near future we plan to launch more showrooms throughout the UK, allowing more and more consumers to try before they buy. We also plan to extend our furniture and accessories collection even further with innovative new designs that truly reflect what our customers want and need in order to spend more time in their gardens.