Chris Kent at Landau, shares his thoughts on how Folkestone has evolved over the years and what his favourite creative collaborations have been to date at Landau!
MF: Can you sum up in three words what Folkestone means to you?
CK: Community. Coastal. History
MF: How did you come up with the name Landau?
CK: Landau was originally a travel business which is the name for an open top horse drawn carriage taking you to your destination in luxury so we thought it was a nice fit for the business.
MF: Tell us about your retail history in Folkestone and any observations about the town along the way?
CK: We started the business in 1982 in Sandgate Road when the town was alive with independent businesses and a huge amount of easy parking options and great shopping choice. Sadly with the retail landscape shifting to online and the restrictions imposed on consumers' behaviour by charging them to park in town, many businesses have fallen by the wayside. However the huge sympathetic restoration of the old High Street and the Harbour, the new F51 Skate Park and the Banksy returning to Folkestone, coupled with the Triennial, shows just how much passion and belief there is in our town still and a great community behind it!
MF: What is the best-selling item at Landau?
CK: It would have to be our Nike Air Force 1
MF: What have been your favourite collaborations with local artists on your products?
CK: “ Customsbylouisa “ which was a local artist on Instagram who has hand drawn Japanese inspired designs in Angelus Acrylic Paints from the U.S onto our xx which are literally amazing !
MF: How are you doing things differently in the store in a new post Covid-19 world?
CK: We have followed all government guidelines for A Shop Safe environment and our customers do comment on how well we have presented the store and have followed the rules to keep the staff and customers safe and well.
MF: Did you learn any new skills during the first lockdown?
CK:The power of customer service is what people want ! We received hundreds of complimentary emails thanking us for great service and communication for their online orders and even for the local deliveries which we started which went down so well. The personal touch is often forgotten by the big corporate giants so we do aim to provide the best customer service levels we can.
MF: Where are your favourite spots in Folkestone to hang out?
CK: Chambers coffee shop is awesome ! It serves the best coffee and I can’t wait for it to re- open !
MF: Is there an eating spot or bar that you go to regularly in Folkestone?
CK: The Radnor Arms up the road from us offers a great lunch menu and some awesome gins! The Old High Street has a wealth of independents serving a huge choice - but for special occasions we do go to Rocksalt as the food is incredible.
MF: What would you like to see happen in Folkestone over the next five years?
CK: To make it the most freely accessible coastal town in the UK ! Consumers want convenience and retail needs consumers so with the huge choice of shops, bars and restaurants and beautiful hotels, both historic and modern, in Folkestone, we need to make the town a free parking town so people can easily come and explore Folkestone and all it has to offer!
MF: What do you think MyFolkestone brings to the community?
CK: MyFolkestone offers a real spotlight to businesses and creatives throughout the town. When we have so much to offer but very few ways of “Googling” the information (not just visitors but the local community) MyFolkestone offers all of that information online - the more businesses and facilities that jump on board means we can all benefit.