Ray and David imagined a place where shopping for furniture was fun and customers felt good about their purchase. They would stock the store with quality pieces that were affordable, modern in design and made for real life.
Getting started wasn’t easy.
The initial days of KEW were filled with coffee and late nights. Ray and David laugh at the memory, saying coffee houses should have been their headquarters because they frequented them so often.
Finding commercial rental space in downtown Halifax wasn’t easy back in 2013. Ray and David spent months searching for the ideal space to call home for KEW. Eventually they found it, next to an art gallery downtown.
Ray had dealt with CUA’s Commercial Team in his previous business, and did his personal banking there as well. He knew CUA had a reputation for showing up and supporting small, independent businesses in a big way. So, he booked an appointment for the duo to make their case.
With a strong business plan, previous entrepreneurial experience and ample paperwork to back up their position, CUA had all they needed to say “yes”. A quick phone call to their POS provider resulted in a green light to proceed.
And so, in 2013, KEW became the boutique furniture store Ray and David had dreamed of, filled with modern, simple pieces that were well-made at a decent price. For Ray and David, the concept of “boutique” isn’t about price, but rather the experience.
When you walk into KEW, there’s something markedly different about the vibe. The music, local art, funky décor and clean-line furniture are packaged in a warm welcome heard from a corner where David or Ray are working on new product display. It’s as though the store has been reserved for you – and of course the owners, KEW’s only employees.
“We understand layout, space, flow, and how people move through a room,” says David. “We’re small enough so when someone comes in, they get us.” Ray adds, “We love the process of getting to know people and their style. And we’re honest – our customers know we don’t sell something that we wouldn’t put in our own home.”
Ray and David have created a loyal customer base who visit to say hello in between redecorating projects. “We care about our customers so much that we’ve refused to sell a piece until they go home to measure their space,” David says. “Delivering a piece of furniture that doesn’t fit through the door doesn’t go over so well.”
“CUA stepped up when we needed them then, and they continue to show up now – even for the little things,” says Ray, recalling a day when David couldn’t leave the store to do a wire transfer. “CUA sent a staff member to our store to help us out and get it done.”
David adds, “That kind of service is not common – especially in banking – but they’ve been doing it forever. They visit our store, buy our products, collaborate on fun ideas and profile us on social media. It’s as though they see themselves as partners in KEW’s success.”
Having a partner in their corner makes it easy to look the other way when other bank managers come knocking, offering KEW incentives to switch. “We know where our loyalty stands,” says Ray. “When everyone else said no, CUA said yes. We’ll never forget that.”
With a nod, the pair – in unison – note, “You can’t put a price on loyalty.”
This content has been developed and paid for by CUA, without involvement from The Coast’s editorial department.