Kitchen Things showroom premier’s ultimate luxury, ultimate choice

The opening of the flagship Kitchen Things Luxury Collection showroom in Auckland heralds the next step on a journey several decades in the making.

There is no one distinct through-line to the 50-plus year retail career of Jones Family Business director, Mark Jones. But if you had to identify a couple of tenets held dear, both technology and family would be at the top of the list.

Mark lives and breathes the business, as does his daughter Rachel Louie, whom he continues to work closely alongside as part of a tightknit team. The ‘family’ aspect is right there on the sign at the office door for all to see; the ‘technology’ aspect is something you discover when you dig a little deeper. 

“I realised early on in business that to succeed, you have to innovate. You can’t continually present the same thing to customers, because technology means there is always forward momentum and change,” he says. 

“Many years ago, we realised the change that the microwave oven would mean for the average household. We began bringing microwave ovens to New Zealand because we could see how they would improve on people’s daily lives.” 

The recognition of that technology from overseas markets led Mark to establish strong bonds with a variety of European appliance manufacturers: Jones Family Business was the first to bring many premium brands to New Zealand, and relationships continue to this day. 

In many ways, the same compromises that faced the modern family way of life during the Jones Family Business’ formative years continue to exist today; specifically, that as a society we remain time-poor. That driver, says Mark, continues to lead the world’s best appliance manufacturers to innovate. As a result, the family kitchen and bathroom continue to evolve. 

“I see distinct parallels between the degree of change that the family home is going through now, and what was happening when the microwave oven started to be adopted. The appliance industry continues to recognise this and so we have advances such as the blast freezer and the steam oven.  

“We now order our groceries online and have them delivered when it suits our schedule. I believe that in the future, preparing meals for the week ahead will become that much easier, because appliance manufacturers are continually improving on the ability for their products to ensure food remains fresher for longer and is less time-intensive to prepare.” 

 

Back when Mark’s company started selling microwave ovens, he identified through trial and error that the biggest barrier to the adoption of new technology was knowing how to use it properly. More than just selling the units themselves, Jones Family Business soon established tutorial classes and even published a microwave recipe book, which became the fourth best-selling book in the country. 

“You see many people buy new technology and then only use 20% of its potential. We want to change that, and that’s why the new showroom is an experiential space; we’d expect many customers to spend four or five hours with their architect or designer in the showroom, because everything is right here for them to see. And our expert in-house sales staff take the time to explain how the new technologies in these appliances will benefit the customer.” 

The Kitchen Things Luxury Collection showroom is the bricks-and-mortar representation of a business philosophy Mark has adhered to for much of his professional life. 

He says that, above everything else, providing a customer with choice is key. But choosing between products that offer the absolute best in terms of quality and technology is also vital. Over time, a customer will never remember the price, he says, only the outcome. 

“The showroom raises customer interactivity to a level that hasn’t been seen in New Zealand before. Customers are able to come in and immerse themselves with many hundreds of possibilities in one place at their own pace,” says Mark. 

It isn’t just appliances that the Kitchen Things Luxury Collection showroom specialises in either. Jones Family Business has partnered with leading bathroom brands as well, providing the very latest in premium fittings, along with accessories and designer tableware. Your entire bathroom or kitchen – right down to the silverware on the table – can be specified in-store. 

Bosch, Smeg, Gaggenau and Asko are among the quality brands on show; brands with which Mark and his team have enjoyed long-established relationships. Having them all under one roof in an innovative space is an all-new experience for customers, however. 

“In speaking with many high-end brands, I’ve learnt that while the products speak for themselves, they have always struggled getting customers to visit dedicated showrooms,” Mark continues. 

“I believe that’s because the customer doesn’t have the ability to view all the options; they’re just seeing one brand.  

“A customer might come into the Kitchen Things Luxury Collection showroom wanting a Sub-Zero refrigerator – and they might still leave having purchased a Sub-Zero refrigerator. But at least we have presented them with multiple options so that we know when they do leave, they’ll be going home with the product that best suits their needs.” 

The diversity and versatility of both the showroom space and the premium products within were put on show at the Kitchen Things Luxury Collection grand opening event recently. Invited guests were seated in each of the brand spaces within the showroom (where all cooking appliances and tapware are connected and ready to use, just like in any family home). 

A roll-call of the best chef talent New Zealand has to offer prepared a series of meals, showcasing both their unique skills and the abilities of the appliances surrounding them. In one corner, Michael Meredith. In another, Simon Gault. Over there was Josh Emmett, Rudy Chartier and Des Harris, while Brett McGregor, William Mordido and Giulio Sturla worked in other spaces while guests dined; in all, a stellar list of gastronomic genius befitting the surroundings. 

But, over and above everything else and putting the glamour to one side, the event was all about good conversation over good food; in short, just like a family meal should be.  

That the Kitchen Things Luxury Collection showroom can deliver such intimate and familial surroundings in multiples is very impressive and hints at its tandem purpose as an event space in the future too. 

“Our company motto has always been ‘From our family to yours’,” concludes Mark. 

“This store is my interpretation of how the future of the family home will look. But at its heart, it adheres to the same principals as any of our other 19 stores. The reward for me is knowing that we’re making a difference to the way New Zealand families live and giving them the quality products and the knowledge about how to get the most out of them every day.” 

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