How it all began...
Quite a lot has changed since Metric was born in 1970!
In those days, The Osmonds were ‘top of the pops’, Ray Tomlinson invented internet-based email and the first ever Starbucks opened in Seattle, Washington!
A man, a woman and a driver!
Back in Egham in the UK, Barry Want and his wife, were starting out in business with the launch of their own office furniture business, naming it Metric after the new metrification system that replaced imperial units in the UK. Total staff in those days, just 1 enthusiastic driver!
By 1992 and with a staff of 12, we had moved to the site of our present head office and showroom in Egham, Surrey, serving clients across the south east, at Heathrow and Gatwick airports and west and central London.
Great service, choice and value
Over the years, our business has gone from strength-to-strength because of the values Barry instilled in the company from the very beginning; a commitment to the highest levels of customer service on every order, big or small, great choice and value for money. We remain a family owned and managed business and to this day, our prime objective is to deliver what we promise, on time and on budget and we’re proud to say that has earned Metric a long list of loyal, repeat customers and lots of very welcome recommendations.
Of course, the world of office furniture has changed beyond all recognition since the 1970s. New materials and product designs have developed as businesses have become more aware of the need to invest in working environments that not only bring out the best in their people but that also make a clear statement about their ethos and brand.
The office furniture revolution
Today, the choice of colours and styles of every piece of office furniture is virtually limitless and, very often, it is only when we start talking to a client in the early stages of their relocation or building refurbishment that they become fully aware of what is available. This often inspires them to adopt a different approach to the one they had previously planned.
If furniture in offices, showrooms and retail outlets is one of today’s ‘fashion statements’ in the business environment, new designs can also be functional and optimal when it comes to gaining the most benefit from the space available. A regular task for Metric is to help customers understand how they can overcome the seemingly impossible challenge of making space work to support their business, whether it is replacing traditional desking with workstations or benching or providing innovative space saving solutions for storage.
Launching a new Interiors division
As our furniture business has grown year-on-year, it soon became clear that customers were looking to us to provide a total office solution including the design of interiors and supported by compliance to the raft of health and safety legislation that seems to increase year-by-year. We rose to that challenge and today, Metric Interiors is one of the fastest growing and busiest areas of our group business.
As with furniture, the options when it comes to workplace interiors are seemingly endless, reflecting new ways of working. The introduction of flat screen computers, open plan offices, ‘hot desking’, breakout areas and the shift towards providing brighter and lighter work environments have resulted in a multitude of new solutions to suit every style and taste.
Metric Education opens up a whole new market
In 2004, we took another step forward with the launch of Metric Education in response to renewed government investment in the schools sector. Since then, we have been awarded a series of multi-million pound contracts to completely fit-out new schools in London and southern England, supplying all furniture and equipment for up to 1,100 pupils at a time.
Our growing reputation for quality, value and service in the education sector means we have also successfully developed a regular flow of business from existing schools. This has included everything from fitting out new classrooms and canteens, staff rooms and reception areas to supplying library, science lab, sports and art room equipment to helping maximise the sometimes limited budgets available. Often that means supplying high quality, secondhand furniture that enables school administrators to achieve more for less.
Making our first acquisition
In 2008, we made our first acquisition when we took over Merlin Interiors, a framework supplier to the BBC for more than 10 years and a supplier to the Corporation for over 30 years, and 2009 saw another addition to our group portfolio with the launch of Metric Blinds for business and private homes.
A talented group of professionals
Behind our growth and success are a dedicated team of people that have grown up with Metric for a large part of their careers. We have been fortunate in finding and developing a talented group of professionals that are always capable of working under their own initiative but, most importantly, understand the importance of being part of a team.
I take great pride in our ability to meet every customer request and in the flexibility and responsiveness we are recognised for. Sometimes, even against the odds when projects run late and we are given a far shorter deadline to meet, we make it happen. I believe it is this commitment that makes Metric stand out in the eyes of many of the customers that have been with us and stayed with us for so many of the past 40 years.
Offering the best advice
As we look ahead, we know there will be new trends developing in the way working environments are created, even more innovative product options, more focus on environment-friendly solutions and more legislation. Our job is to keep pace with these changes to ensure we can always provide you with the best advice and choices for your business. I assure you we will
On behalf of everyone in the Metric Group team, we look forward to working with you.