Stephen Crowe, an account manager in the sales team at UK Flooring Direct, loves his city of Coventry. So much so, that when an opportunity came for him to be a city host during Coventry’s year as the UK City of Culture, he couldn’t resist.
He recalled feeling thrilled when Coventry initially won the title and was even more excited to able to volunteer and be part of it.
Stephen explained that he had a friend in Hull who volunteered when they were the UK City of Culture on 2017. He said that while it was great for Hull, it was also great for him.
“He got so much out of it in terms of confidence and self-esteem,” Stephen said.
“It’s been great to see all of the publicity about the start of UK City of Culture in Coventry and I can’t wait to be part of it.
“The team here at UK Flooring Direct is really supportive, which is one of the best things about working here – there is a great culture within the business.”
Stephen made the decision to become a host because of his love for his city.
“Coventry is my city”
“I grew up in Coventry in the 1970s and the way the city has evolved and changed is amazing,” he said.
“I want to be part of being able to show off not only the city – but our ability to stage one of the largest events in the world.
“To be part of this will be a real highlight for me personally and I’m looking forward to welcoming people to our great city.”
Stephen’s colleagues, family and friends all knew of his plans to become involved in the UK City of Culture festivities. He said that having someone they work with or in the family closely connected really brought it home.
“Coventry people are really down to earth – and the sense that we are all part of something so large has been great to focus on,” he added.
His titled role, team leader, will continue until May next year. Many would be apprehensive before venturing into such a unique experience but Stephen is already making the most of it and those involved.
“Our team is everything,” he reflected.
“When we work well together, we can achieve whatever we want”
“To be selected as a team leader means I have a little more influence in ensuring our roles are smooth.
“It’s hard but rewarding work, we work together to provide a service for everyone who visits Coventry, we do this with a smile and offer fantastic advice.”
Stephen is now entering his third year with flooring retailer UK Flooring Direct, which has offices in both Hinckley and Coventry. He discussed his day-to-day working life.
“My role with our customers is to ensure they have expert advice at every step of their journey,” he told Retail Gazette.
Whether it is measurements, advice on style or even fitting, Stephen said it’s his job to ensure the customer is comfortable at every stage.
“I am proud to be considered an expert and really enjoy helping our customers achieve their dream floor,” he added.
Throughout his out-of-work endeavours, Stephen stressed that UK Flooring Direct have been continually supportive.
“Marketing are excited that we have a link to such a great event and we want to show our customers that community is at the heart of what we do,” he added.
If that wasn’t enough, he is set to volunteer for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022.
“Just last week I was contacted by them to ask if I would help in Birmingham. Of course, I have jumped at the chance,” he told Retail Gazette.
“There are many reasons to try and get involved and I suppose all volunteers have their own – but for me, to attend one of the largest sporting events in the world, working with a team focussed on a common goal and showing off our region. – well that’s enough.”
For Stephen, looking towards the future and the events that will come is a stark contrast to how life was at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. He explained that like most, it was “very difficult” working when the virus reached the UK.
“Our industry could continue to trade but like most it meant we had to move quickly on equipment/security and operationally it was a real challenge,” he said.
He said that due to the UK Flooring Direct’s quick reactions and investment, anybody able to work from home was able to within days of lockdown in March last year.
“Demand went through the roof and with the work across all departments we were able to still give the level of service we have become known for,” he said.
Now that Covid restrictions across the UK have been lifted, Stephen is looking forward to the Commonwealth Games and seeing Coventry City play this season alongside his two nephews who he said are more excited than him to watch.
“It’s something we took for granted and so it is simple – but right now we can’t wait.” he reflected.