Furnishing a new home is a very long task list and a big budget!
Yesterday we decided to address the issue of interior light fittings.
It would have been all too easy to pop over to John Lewis, with it's easy access, almost unlimited parking and generally swish ambience - a brand that instils me with confidence.
However, Annie had spotted a lighting shop on Washway Road in Sale (the main arterial route into Manchester from North East Cheshire) and suggested that we drive down there (15 minutes) and take a look.
My initial emotion was one of resistance and an element of concern - a shop on a busy main road, shuttered retailers either side (they open Sunday but their neighbours don't), no parking, no track record?
We entered Luminer Lights Ltd and, in less than 5 minutes, I knew I was going to do business here.
Two young men, clearly related, wearing branded jackets, a casual uniform;
The elder of the two introduced himself to us, welcomed us to the store and left us to look around until we had any questions;
Behind his desk, a photograph of an elder relative (his father?) standing by a gigantic chandelier in what looked like a shopping mall.
Less than 5 minutes to establish that this was a family-run business, that they cared enough about their brand and that they were genuinely interested in us. Less than 5 minutes to switch my emotions around.
About an hour later we had enjoyed conversation and laughs with Mehdi, had learned that the business had been established for 60 years and that he was the 4th generation to serve.
Perhaps most importantly, orders had been placed for lights in the sitting room, my home office, two bedrooms, the hallway and upstairs landing. All high quality, fitting and date agreed, competitive pricing.
We left the premises feeling as if we had made a new friend and very confident in our purchases and in them.
We have bought furniture from John Lewis before now and haven't regretted it - but it was lovely to be able to support a local small business and a family who care.
Make sure that, if you are able, you promote your own "family-run business" in your community.