Paul Mumford, managing director of Mondo, retail fit-out specialists talks to Justine Thompson
1. What does Mondo do and how did it start?
After several years working for a leading European shelving manufacturer and managing and developing key retail accounts in the UK, I took the step in 1998 of starting my own business – Mondo.
My vision was to offer a wide range of shop-fitting equipment; shelving, signage, bespoke display solutions, joinery, POS accessories, trolleys… everything! That way our customers would benefit from one point of contact, quality products, competitively priced and with the added value of our design and project management expertise, in that we deliver the full fit-out, on time, on budget and to exceed client expectations.
Our breakthrough (circa 1999/2000) in the pet sector came from Rob McIntyre, owner at Jollyes Petfood Superstores. I had a developed a new concept design for a ‘Dog Deli’ – a simple but innovative pic’n’mix display unit for loose biscuits and treats comprising of two tiered levels of steel bins with acrylic fronts that could easily fit to existing shelving systems. Rob immediately placed orders for an initial five-store trial and we were off. The Dog Deli was an immediate success and in the coming months we became the key supplier to Jollyes for all their shop equipment; shelving, racking, signage, trolleys, baskets. This quickly proved the concept of what Mondo stood for then and still does today.
2. Why the name Mondo?
I reached a point where my well-paid, secure job, complete with company car and pension, just wasn’t working for me any more. I told my then girlfriend – now wife – of my decision to leave and that the time was now right to start my own business. Bemused, we nonetheless decided to celebrate, so we went for dinner to our favourite Italian restaurant. Behind our table was a massive Italian flag with Campioni del Mondo (World Champions) on it, referencing Italy winning the football World Cup.
As the evening wore on, the conversation got to: ‘So what shall I call it?’ The flag I had been looking at all evening said it ‘Mondo’ – world. There you go!
3. How important is it for stores to get the correct retail handling equipment and fit-out?
To be clear, we do not have to supply all of our products, to all of our customers. It depends on each specific need and budget. If a customer wants only new shelving, we can supply that, same for trolleys etc. If it’s a new main sign or promotional signage within the store we can supply all of these too. However, if a customer has a need for all these elements, then we believe we have the range of products, the expertise and experience to deliver them. One-stop shop is often an overused term but I believe Mondo genuinely offers this.
4. What value could a consultation with Mondo add for a business owner?
We have gained an enormous amount of experience and awareness of what works in pet retail and have a proven record of helping businesses transform their store, whether it be a small independent or a large multiple. The same core principles apply for both.
We understand that it may be just a small thing that can have the biggest impact. Creating a fresh, vibrant, fun and engaging place to shop can be achieved simply with the introduction of colour, new signage, or by creating space or new areas to give customers a happier, more comfortable and informative place to shop.
Pet shops should reflect all of these things as pets play such a positive part in people’s lives. What we feed them, what harness is best suited, their bed, toys and treats should all be displayed to give the best chance of achieving the sale!
5. Who have been your past customers and successes?
> Jollyes – a huge customer for us and we played a major part as a key supplier in supporting their growth over recent years.
> Natural World Pets – new store at Northampton, introduction of new areas at Syston such as ‘ The Great Outdoors’ a specialist area dedicated to lead, collars, harnesses and clothing.
> Just for Pets – supplier of all elements as part of their 16-store rebrand and facelift. Offered new design concept ‘The Boutique’ with overhead Dog Collar Lighting Rings.
> Penparc – new store fit out at Telford. Working through their rebrand and store refresh programme.
> Healthy Pet Store – new store fit out at Totton. Fixtures, signage and implementation of branding throughout store.
6. Is there a creative part to the business and is this something you enjoy?
Very much so! This is what I believe sets us apart from competition and what I enjoy the most. Working up an idea that will help our customers progress is the ultimate for me. Interpreting a brief with a simple, cost-effective solution that has maximum impact is so rewarding.
7. Do you only deal with larger players or can you offer something for everyone?
Not at all, we offer the same products and level of service to all our customers, no matter what size they are. If it’s a few bays of shelving, 10 trolleys or some new gondola signage we are happy to help. All of our customers start with a small initial order for something, then we can begin to show what else we can offer and the relationship grows from there.
8. How important is online for you?
Online is important and has an important play to showcase all aspects of our business. Our competitive range of customer handling equipment can be found on mondo-direct.co.uk.
This e-commerce platform allows potential new and existing customers to purchase a wide range of trolleys and baskets.
Our project work is showcased on mondo-industries.com – our own brand and this website has undergone a significant revamp in recent months. I am extremely proud of all the work on there.
9. What is the future direction for Mondo?
Going forward, we intend to develop our position and enhance our reputation as one of the leading fit-out businesses in pet retail. We aim to be the go-to business for all pet retail owners looking to open, refit, refresh or improve their store. We understand this sector, we have a wealth of experience, our business has an excellent reputation with all our customers and we are looking forward to working on many more in the coming months.
10. What do you do to unwind?
Over recent months, like many people I have had more free time than I have had for a very long time. I have recently rediscovered my passion for golf – and that I am still not very good! We have a young family, Joe, 14 and Kitty, 11 who are both very sporty, so I am sure as we come out of lockdown my free-time will soon be back pool-side, pitch-side and enjoying all that they bring.