41 High Street, Buckden, Cambridgeshire
Who you need to know
Owner Anne Furbank (left)
Brands include Ann Balon, Basler, Condici, Desigual, Gerry Weber, James Lakeland, Marc Cain, Paddy Campbell, Repeat
“A five-star product with a five-star service in a five-star environment” is the motto at Anne Furbank. The mainstream womenswear retailer, which celebrates its 30th birthday this year, has come a long way since owner Anne Furbank set up her eponymous store in a former coaching inn with £3,000 worth of stock.
The company has grown consistently year on year and now boasts 11 different departments selling everything from jeans to eveningwear, casualwear to ocassionwear, plus accessories, footwear, jewellery, belts and bags. At the Buckden store, customers can literally shop ‘til they drop, as Furbank took over the adjoining hotel in 2003, turning it into a stylish boutique hotel with a bustling bar and brasserie.
A second womenswear store opened in Newmarket, Suffolk two years ago.
Anne Furbank prides itself on its rigorous product training, which ensures every member of staff can offer spot-on style advice. With a growing staff of 46, Furbank also recognised the need to put a management structure in place. Each employee now has a personal development programme - a move which has seen Saturday girls progress through the ranks to join the management team.
Furbank’s proudest moment was meeting the Queen at a reception for the British fashion industry held at Buckingham Palace in March last year. “It was an honour to be invited, and when I got the opportunity to actually speak to the Queen it was such a special moment.”