COMMERCIAL ALUMINIUM SHOPFRONTS

ABOUT US

We stand for quality, value for money, honesty and unrivalled customer service. Our dedicated and reliable in-house team of experts assures unrivalled product excellence and second-to-none customer service. As a reputable market leader, our Health & Safety credentials and building regulations knowledge - including the Disability Discrimination Act – affords unequivocal expertise.

From the initial consultation and survey, to the technical planning and design, and the manufacture and installation; everything we do is planned with precision and comes with reliable after-sales care.

OUR PRODUCTS

As specialists in the design, manufacture and installation of custom-make glass shopfronts, our services extend to clients across the UK.
Did you know that 95% of customers are influenced by a business's exterior and that 52% feel that if the exterior of a shopfront looks uninviting, they would be deterred from entering the store?
Commercial Aluminium Shopfronts provides quality manual aluminium doors for commercial clients in the UK.
At Commercial Aluminium Shopfronts, our fenestration expertise extends to the design, manufacture and installation of high-performance glazed aluminium doors for commercial properties all over the UK.
At Commercial Aluminium Shopfronts we tailor-make, install and service automatic aluminium doors for commercial clients all over the country.
Commercial Aluminium Shop Fronts is the UK's premier curtain walling manufacturer.
As well as our manufacturing and installation expertise, we can also improve the thermal and acoustic performance of any existing windows in a commercial building.

WE DESIGN

We design, hand-craft and install high-quality, cost-effective bespoke architectural entrances for industrial units, statement office buildings and prestigious corporate headquarters.All our state-of-the-art entrances include solar shading - a fully integrated energy efficient solar control solution that provides shade or privacy when required.What you do in your business makes you unique. What we do on the outside can mirror that.After you have given considerable thought to the look of your entrance, the next step is to consult with our experts to discuss the finer details of your project.We will listen to your design requirements, understand your business needs and consider regulatory implications to supply you with AutoCAD drawings of your new entrance. We will also provide clear, honest advice and transparent costings so that you can make an informed decision regarding the best all-round solution.Looking for entrance design expertise?If you're looking to create or update the entrance to your business or if you would like a specialist to repair your existing design, click the button below to arrange a consultation.
Commercial Aluminium Shopfronts creates, manufactures and installs bespoke architectural entrance facades, nationwide.We understand that the exterior of a building has the important role of making a good first impression for any business. All our designs - which are limited only by imagination - are innovative, practical, secure and cost-effective. They provide the perfect branding opportunities.You make your business prominent on the inside, so let us make it distinct from the outside. After considering how you would like the entrance of your business to look, the next step is to book a free, no-obligation consultation with our experts to discuss the finer details of your designs and ideas.During the initial discussion we will listen to your requirements, understand your needs and provide you with relevant information about the design, construction, raw materials and regulations that may impact your project, so that you are equipped to make an informed decision about the bespoke solution that best suits your needs.Looking for facade design expertise?If you're looking to create or update the entrance facade to your business or if you would like a specialist to repair your existing design, we'd love to hear from you. Click the button below to arrange a free consultation.
If you are looking for custom-made shopfronts, our bespoke solutions are built to reflect your business image.How are you going to present your business to the public?First impressions count, so it makes perfect sense to invest a lot of time and thought into your shopfront so that you stand out from the crowd.Once you've got a few ideas, share them with the professionals  Aluminium shopfronts are very versatile, so the ways in which they can be fabricated are limited only by your imagination.We like to have an initial consultation with all our clients so that we can really understand their design ideas. We also give careful consideration to accessibility, security and council/government building regulations.For those who are struggling to come up with design ideas, our team of highly-skilled and creative architects can contribute suggestions, recommend products and provide advice and guidance so that you can make an informed decision about which shopfront solutions will work best for your particular requirements.Looking for shopfront design expertise?If you'd like to discuss your ideas with us or if you would like some inspiration from our specialists, we'd love to hear from you. Click the button below to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation.

Aluminium Shopfront Installation Specialists

We have developed a reputation for delivering high-quality, hand-crafted products with a reliably quick turnaround. We pride ourselves in providing an outstanding service and have become a leader in the fenestration industry. Our experts have been privileged to work with a variety of large, reputable businesses and organisations.

In a world of stiff competition, we appreciate that being able to make a strong, long-lasting first impression is important. What better way to achieve this than by making the exterior of your building stand out from the crowd? With the help of our highly-skilled, creative engineers, this is entirely possible. A new, fully branded entrance or cleverly renovated office or shopfront is crucial to converting passing footfall into loyal custom. Our industry expertise will help you to make a big statement.

By recognising that quality is paramount, from the initial consultation right through to installation and after-care, our services are completed with pride in our work and client satisfaction in our minds. With most construction projects, timing is crucial and that is why we complete our tasks as quickly as possible, without compromising on quality.

As all our products come with a twelve-month guarantee, you will have complete peace of mind in the knowledge that you are making a sound investment.

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OUR LATEST BLOG
December 12, 2018
Christmas window displays are sparkling away all over Britain, on high streets, in shopping centres and in the windows of smaller retailers away from the city centre. Everyone realises the value of an alluring festive window to draw the customers in at the busiest time of the year.The aim is to attract potential customers, who may not normally come in. If the Christmas window display is striking enough to stop passers-by in their tracks, they may wander in for a look, instead of continuing on their way.Today, it's commonplace for just about every shop with a large enough window to display their wares to the best of their ability, but how did the now-common practice of window displays begin? First window displaysThe tradition dates back to the 18th century, although at the time, it was only the larger stores in the cities who dressed their windows.Until this point, the practice had been for shopkeepers to stand in their doorway, actively trying to lure customers in with some self-promotion, while their goods were often stacked up in the window area, in no particular order.Then, the idea of seasonal window displays began to catch on among savvy shopkeepers in the late 18th century. In London, where the competition was fierce among retail stores even by the 1780s, those with more spacious windows often changed their displays to keep them looking fresh.A letter written by a visitor to London in 1786 described how the practice of displaying silk, muslin and chintz fabrics for women's garments in shop windows was a "cunning device". The window displays enabled customers to see how each material would look when hanging in the folds of a woman's dress, spurring them into buying it.The letter was quoted by early 20th century social historian Alison Adburgham, the one-time fashion editor of The Guardian newspaper, as evidence that some retailers were aware of more sophisticated marketing techniques more than 200 years ago. Department storesBy the 19th century, when the main streets had gas lights and there were more small stores with glass windows, an increasing number of traders had seasonal window displays. With many storeys and large plate glass windows, the department store first arrived in the 1850s.This heralded a new era for window displays, with fashion goods in particular displayed in room settings on shop window dummies, known as mannequins, for optimum visual impact.Window displays were exhibiting goods in context and settings, with fixtures, stands and accessories, as well as the mannequins. This led to scope for better seasonal and Christmas displays, with the mannequins in festive surroundings.The widely-held belief is that the world's first major Christmas window display was exhibited by Macy’s store in New York in 1874. It featured scenes from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s famous novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, inhabited by a collection of porcelain dolls in costumes from all over the world.The owner of the legendary department store, RH Macy, saw it as an opportunity to bring more Christmas spirit to his premises. In the late 19th century, Macy's Christmas window displays became legendary and a visitor attraction in their own right.People would travel to New York from far and wide to see the spectacular festive windows and this became a hugely valuable marketing tactic.Other retailers soon followed suit and by the early 20th century, competition for grabbing the attention of shoppers was increasingly intense. The trend was prevalent across America, in particular in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago - home of the majority of major department stores at that time. Leading UK displaysIn the UK, department stores also joined the growing trend for dressing up their windows with Christmas displays.Selfridges, the Oxford Street department store that was launched in March 1909 by American entrepreneur Harry Selfridge, not only had festive window displays, it was also the first luxury retailer to have a Christmas display that filled almost a whole floor inside the store.During the 20th century, the trend for creating sparkling Christmas windows grew, until it was unusual for a retailer not to have a festive display.In today's competitive retail climate, when the digital age means internet shopping is rivalling the high street, it's even more important for shopfronts to look as inviting as possible, especially at the busiest time of year.The need for retailers to come up with unique window displays, especially around the Christmas period, is crucial. An estimated 70% of shoppers enjoy physically experiencing products and interacting with staff face-to-face before making a purchase, so luring them into the store is massively important.In the same way that annual iconic Christmas adverts on TV can affect retailer's success, Christmas window displays are also at the heart of their high street presence. A recent study by Lord and Taylor, a historic American department store in Fifth Avenue, New York, estimated that 500,000 people passed by its windows daily.Even if you entice only a small percentage of customers into the shop at Christmas, this will significantly increase footfall - so an attractive window display is paramount.Commercial Aluminium Shopfronts (CAS) will supply and install high-quality shopfront windows to your retail premises to add a fresh and inviting feel. Please contact us for details of our products and services – we look forward to hearing from you!The Commercial Aluminium Shopfronts team would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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November 9, 2018

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With the loss of almost 30,000 UK jobs, the dramatic collapse of retail chain Woolworths in 2008 sent shock waves rippling through the high street. After 129 years' trading, analysts wondered how the former global brand could have crashed so suddenly, with little warning.The first Woolworths had opened in New York City in 1879 and the company had continually expanded throughout the 20th century, making record profits of £105.1 million in 1998. Yet 10 years later, the rise and fall of Woolworths was complete, as 800 UK stores closed their doors for the final time.So, whatever happened to Woolworths, and how did such a massive brand fall victim to the challenging economic climate of the 21st century? OriginsAmerican entrepreneur Frank Winfield Woolworth was just 24 years old when he launched his first shop in Utica, New York, on 22nd February 1878. He called it Woolworth's Great Five Cent Store, which was the equivalent of today's discount stores, such as the £1 shop.This was the beginning of the concept of the five-and-dime store, or the variety store, when a shop would sell a wide assortment of cheap items for household and personal use. Woolworths became known as the "cheap and cheerful" shop, where all the products cost five cents each.In addition, the store introduced a new way of serving customers. Prior to this, it was normal to give the retailer a list of what you wanted, as a lot of goods were kept behind the counter, so the shopkeeper could personally serve the customer.The new Woolworth shop was revolutionary, in that the merchandise was on open shelves that the public could access themselves. This enabled them to browse the products and choose what they wanted at their leisure, without the aid of a retail assistant.Pioneering the modern methods of merchandising, direct purchasing, sales and customer services which are still in use today, this created a retail model which has been followed worldwide. ExpansionOn 18th July 1879, Frank Woolworth joined forces with his younger brother Charles Sumner Woolworth, who was 23, to open another store of the same name in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The second store was an even bigger success than the first and the Woolworth brothers had invented a money-making formula with their five-and-dime chain.They continued to open new stores during the late 19th century throughout the United States. By 1904, they had already built their own empire and had expanded into Canada too.In November 1909, the first UK Woolworths opened on Church Street in Liverpool. The highest price of any item in the shop was 6d - the shop was a huge hit! It received a lot of favourable publicity in the newspapers, where it was described as stocking an "infinite" selection of wares.The brothers had initially operated as the Woolworth Syndicate but their brand name changed to the FW Woolworth Company in 1912.By the mid-1920s, they were opening one new shop every 17 days! In the UK, Woolworths' familiar red fascia and brand name on the high street was welcomed, as it was a kind of seal of approval for their town centre. 20th-century successThe UK Woolworth business empire was being managed by William Stephenson by the 1940s. Frank Woolworth had trained the former freight clerk, who had become his protégé.Stephenson had impressed Frank when he worked for a supplier of the five-cent stores in the early days. He had worked his way up through the company to a managerial role, although he remained a hands-on type of person. Following Frank's death in 1919, Charles Woolworth managed the business with Stephenson.By the 1940s, around 500 Woolworth stores had opened in Britain and it was the biggest high street chain of its era. The expansion continued throughout the next two decades. In 1958, the 1,000th store was opened in Britain in Hove and the chain reached its peak in the late 1960s, when there were 1,141 high street branches.Woolworths was famous for its Christmas shopping campaigns. It became a winter wonderland of festive cheer, Christmas decorations, Santa's grotto in the larger stores and every toy imaginable.It was also famous for its pick and mix sweets, loved by kids and adults alike as they would fill their paper bag with a selection of chocolates and candies of their choice. Seeds of failureIn the 1970s, Woolworth began closing down an average of 15 stores per year but stated this was to fund more modern stores and insisted the brand wasn't downsizing. By the start of the 1980s, there were still around 1,000 UK shops on the high street.The 1980s proved a challenging decade for the retailer. The US parent company sold out in 1982 and the UK arm became independent, forming Woolworths Group plc. However, for the first time, high street stores were closing, without any new ones opening.Woolworths' foray into the large out-of-town hypermarket format (which had begun in the 1960s) wasn't a success and most had been sold by the early 1980s. The management reorganised the merchandise into specific categories, including home, entertainment, kids' toys, clothing and confectionery, but the brand went into a decline and many branches were downsized. The older branches in cities often occupied premises that were as large as a department store and some of these were downsized, or closed altogether. Where did it go wrong?There appeared to be no clearly-defined reason for Woolworths' gradual decline, although business analysts at the BBC described it as having become "something of a lame duck retailer" and claimed it had been losing significant market share against intense competition from newcomers on the high street.Consumers and business leaders were left wondering where it had all gone wrong in 2008 when Woolworths came to a sad end. There were accusations that it hadn't kept pace with the times and had relied too much on its traditional, tried and trusted formula.The US arm of Woolworths (owned by a rival US retail company) had closed down in 1997, after 118 years' trading, but no-one had foreseen the scale of problems that the UK company was suffering. The British chain still appeared to be in relatively good shape, after becoming part of the retail giant Kingfisher, owner of B&Q. In 1998, Woolworths had announced record profits and all seemed to be well.Woolworths and Kingfisher went their separate ways in 2001, after the recession and the credit crunch were said to have impacted negatively on Woolworths. In addition, it was said to be struggling, as rent bills for its UK shops had more than doubled from a manageable £70 million to a staggering £160 million.The brand was also in competition with well-established rivals, such as Argos, plus the new kids on the block, such as the discount chain Poundland and Wilkinson, both of which had entered the non-food market and were attracting Woolworths' customers with their cheap prices.It was also reported that Woolworths had suffered stock shortages and that its stores were perceived to be "unfashionable" in the 21st century, failing to attract the new generation of shoppers.The credit crunch finally succeeded in wiping Woolworths out and it went into administration in 2008. It was described by business analysts as the "bleakest day in retail history", when the chain went into the control of receivers. Its remaining 800 stores closed down and almost 30,000 jobs were lost.There were calls for the government to bail Woolworths out, but the plea fell on deaf ears. A report by the BBC said Woolworths' generally weak position was the reason why the government hadn't intervened. The company reportedly had debts of £385 million and there appeared to be no way back.The company had tried to sell itself for the token sum of £1, with the new buyer taking over the debt and restructuring the business, but eventually, the board simply ran out of time and Woolworths closed down, signalling the end of an era.In April 2017, the company's former director, Tony Page, reportedly expressed an interest in acquiring the Woolworths' brand name, leading to rumours that the store may be resurrected, but to date, there has been no confirmation of whether this is the case. First impressions countIt's no secret that today's economic climate presents challenges for even the most successful retailers. In particular, competition from online stores is taking consumers from the high street.First impressions count, so make sure your store's exterior is welcoming and appealing - the kind of shopfront that stops people in their tracks and makes them want to step inside.Commercial Aluminium Shopfronts (CAS) supplies and installs high-quality shopfront windows that will give your retail premises the edge. Please contact us for details of our products and services, we'd love to talk to you!
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October 17, 2018
Published in 1841, famous novel, The Old Curiosity Shop, by Charles Dickens, was greeted with the same hysteria as the recent novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling, more than 160 years later. Historians say this is the only modern comparison they can find to the readers' reaction back in the 19th century.The excitement was witnessed on both sides of the Atlantic, after the novel was first serialised in Dickens' weekly periodical, Master Humphrey's Clock. Readers were desperate to read the next instalment to find out if the heroine survived - and in America, they were waiting on the docks for the shipment to find out!The plot and some of the characters were said to be based on the author's own impoverished upbringing and people he had met in his younger years. OriginsCharles' parents, who lived in Portsmouth, were an outgoing, sociable couple, who enjoyed entertaining, functions and dinner parties, but sadly they didn't have the means to fund their lifestyle. His father, John Dickens, who was a clerk in the Navy payroll office, had amassed numerous debts and spent time in a debtors' prison.The family moved to London and Charles' mother, Elizabeth, opened a girls' school, but that wasn't a success and they remained poor. Charles was one of eight children and had to leave school at 12 because the family had no money.While his father was in prison, Charles worked in a factory to support the family, as he was the second oldest child. Despite not having a formal education, he grew up to be a talented writer and his early experiences of poverty shaped many of his novels' plots and characters.Writing in his spare time, the author became a political journalist reporting on Parliamentary debate, while renting rooms at Furnival's Inn, London.He was only 29 when he wrote The Old Curiosity Shop, but was already a respected writer, having written his first story, A Dinner at Poplar Walk, for publication in Monthly Magazine in 1833. The Old Curiosity ShopDickens wrote The Old Curiosity Shop in 1840, with the plot revolving around Nell Trent (better known as Little Nell) who lives in London with her grandfather. He runs an antiques shop, hence the novel's title. Nell is a beautiful and virtuous orphan, who is only 13, but has few friends and leads a lonely existence.Her grandfather is not well off and Nell worries that when he's gone, she will die in poverty. In a misguided attempt to make money for her future, he begins gambling and ends up heavily in debt to vicious money-lender Daniel Quilp. He loses the shop due to being unable to pay his debts and he and Nell end up homeless on the streets of London.While wandering all over Victorian London, begging, they live a harsh life, but eventually they are helped by an old man who takes pity on them and finds them somewhere to live in a quiet town on the outskirts.When their life seems to be turning around, it has all been too much for Nell, who dies. This was the first time one of Dickens' heroines had died at the end of the book and it sparked outrage! Public demonstrationWhile the book was being serialised (before it was made into a novel), fans had been clamouring for the next edition. The magazines were shipped out to America and it was reported that the cliff hanger endings of each episode led to fans gathering at the docks to eagerly snap up the next edition.By the time the final instalment was due to arrive, their mood had reached fever pitch. It was reported that fans waited on the docks at New York harbour, shouting to the crew of incoming British ships, "Is little Nell dead?"The decision to kill Nell was hugely unpopular among readers. This was the first time the author had killed his leading lady and it was contrary to public taste. Readers liked a happy ending.In fact, the unexpected death caused such a sensation that there was a public demonstration against Dickens and an outpouring of anger! However, the character was said to be based on a real person and her demise had been inevitable, due to the author's state of mind when writing The Old Curiosity Shop. Nell's backgroundAlthough the author had managed to stave off the threat of homelessness by finding work when his father was in debtors' prison, he knew what it was like to have nothing.The character of Nell was said to be based on his wife's sister, who had died at an early age. Dickens had married Catherine Thomson Hogarth, daughter of the Evening Chronicle's editor, George Hogarth, in April 1836. They took up residence at 48 Doughty Street, London.They also provided a home for Dickens' younger brother Frederick and Catherine's little sister Mary, who was 16 at the time. Dickens had known Mary since she was 14 and was very attached to her. However, she became unwell at the age of 17 and died very suddenly, in his arms. She was believed to have suffered heart failure or a stroke.The shock of her death severely affected Dickens. He even stopped working for a period and he and Catherine temporarily moved to a farm on Hampstead Heath to recuperate. At the time, Dickens had been writing Oliver Twist and had based the character of Rose Maylie, Oliver's maternal aunt, on Mary.He had planned on killing Maylie in the story, but couldn't bring himself to do so now Mary had died in real life, so he changed the plot. It was also said that he based several of his delicate, young, female characters on Mary, including Nell in The Old Curiosity Shop and Florence Dombey in Dombey and Son.He was so distraught over Mary's death that he missed the deadlines for two of his books that were being published in instalments - Pickwick Papers and Oliver Twist. So the outrage caused by Nell's death in The Old Curiosity Shop paled into insignificance, as Dickens was suffering extreme grief at the time. Critics' receptionWhile the fans were angry about the book's ending, the critics had different views. It was described as "melodramatic" and "maudlin" by some.It was reported that the Irish political leader, Daniel O'Connell, was so anguished when he read the ending that he threw the book in disgust out of the train window on which he was travelling.The poet Algernon Swinburne was less than impressed that Nell appeared to have died after her arduous journey through the streets of London, after showing signs of "melancholy". He wrote that she was an "inhuman monster", as her actions of sitting in a graveyard towards the end of the book, followed by her death when she appeared to have simply given up, also led to the death of her devoted grandfather.Writer Oscar Wilde had a different view and found the ending unbelievable, saying anyone who had read of the unexpected death of Little Nell would have dissolved into "tears of laughter".Despite the criticisms, however, the book remains a classic today and Dickens will forever be one of the greatest authors in history. Shopfront windowsAlthough The Old Curiosity Shop is a wonderful novel, in today's challenging and competitive retail environment, shopkeepers need to have an edge over their rivals.Commercial Aluminium Shopfronts (CAS) supplies and installs high-quality shopfront windows and facades that will give your retail premises a contemporary and inviting feel. Please contact us for details of our products and services - we'd love to talk to you!
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