Unveiling the new £5m store in Gateshead

Barker and Stonehouse, a long-standing client and iconic North East furniture company, opened its 12th store on Good Friday (April 7th 2023). The store was designed with sustainability in mind, and features a number of unique sustainable elements, such as timber structures and a solar panelled roof.

The new store, located next to the popular Metrocentre shopping mall, took two years to build and is stocked with an extensive range of furniture from leading brands and designers.

The store also features a specially designed oak and glass hot-desk bar and lounge area, where customers can relax, meet friends, or work.

The brief

The Gateshead store opening marked the beginning of a new chapter in Barker and Stonehouse’s 77-year history. The company already had a strong following in the area, but we were tasked with driving even more foot traffic to the store during the bank holiday weekend.

We achieved this by hosting a series of VIP customer events for existing customers in north and south Tyneside. We also ran a variety of marketing campaigns in the run-up to the opening, including coverage in local lifestyle magazines, a press and influencer lunch in the Chadwick & Co. café, and engagement with interiors-focused regional influencers.


pieces of regional coverage.

Engaged with

c. 1 million

people on social media with the help of local influencers.



customers to the store over the weekend.


Launch event

Planning and managing a store opening event is no easy task, but with the support of Joanna Lumley, the event was a huge success.

The day started with a private viewing of the store for Joanna Lumley and James Barker, Managing Director of Barker and Stonehouse. The Barker family was proud to share their many years of furniture knowledge with Joanna, who is a well-known fan of ercol and Ligne Roset.

After the private viewing, Joanna Lumley met and greeted customers in the store. She also cut the ribbon to officially open the store, which was a great moment for the Barker family and for the thriving furniture retailer.

The event was rounded off with a Q&A with Joanna Lumley, led by ITV Tyne Tees news and TV presenter Pam Royle. Joanna was happy to answer questions about her career and her
love of furniture. She also signed copies of her book for fans.

It was a wonderful day for all involved, and a great way to celebrate the opening of Barker and Stonehouse’s new store in Gateshead.


Designing the campaign

No event is complete without a series of wonderfully designed materials and assets to help promote the event itself.

We created a teaser article in our spring brochure, a coffee table-worthy publication, to entice customers to learn more about the new store and to sign up online for the free in-store event.

Event materials

Our promotional materials featured a fresh, and modern look that was designed to replicate the fantastic new store environment.

We developed a series of materials, including easel board signs, leaflets, a golden ticket for a raffle prize giveaway, customer packs, and literature that was mailed to VIP customers prior to the store opening.

These materials were a fantastic way to celebrate the arrival of the new store and generate excitement among potential customers.


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Cool Blue is a full-service agency that drives brands forwards. Our ideas and innovations are always conducted with purpose. Delivering solutions that combat specific challenges and provide results. Our strategic expertise offer a valuable service to every one of our clients, helping them achieve their goals.


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