About Russells Curtains
Russells Curtains and Blinds have a long history of serving the Nelson region, having been founded in 1929 by George P Russell. Currently owned and managed by Bill and Jenny Liddell they draw on the long tradition of innovation quality and service that 4 generations of the Russell family have established.
Russells were one of the first companies to offer a mobile curtain showroom, the philosophy being 'no matter where you are we will come to you.'
Our Head Office is based in Nelson, from where we manage our team of 14 locally based consultants and installers, covering the entire South Island and lower North Island.
Our specialist manufacturing workroom creates high quality products delivered and installed within excellent time frames.
We are fully computerised which enables our consultants to Measure and Quote and allows the processing of orders to commence in the workroom, before the consultant has even left a clients home.
Russells Curtains also covers a wide range of commercial work ranging from Schools and Rest Homes, to large Retirement Villages throughout New Zealand.
Bill and Jenny's extensive business experience, combined with the history of Russells, and a great staff team, make for a dynamic company that cares about bringing you the best quality, best prices and best service.
History of Russells Curtains and Blinds
Russells Curtains and Blinds have a long history of servicing the Nelson region. Founded by George Phillip Russell in 1929 as a new and used furniture business, G.P. Russell and Sons Ltd was located at 176 Bridge Street, Nelson.
The Russells were prominent members of the Nelson community. George Russell was on the City Council, and his son, Stan Russell, stood for Council in 1944. Stan served on the City Council for twenty-one years, and was the mayor of Nelson from 1956 to 1962. His campaign for pensioner flats resulted in the construction of units in Waimea Road, known as the “Russell Flats”. He was also involved in establishing the Nelson Civic Trust in the early 1970s.
In the early 1950s, Stan Russell moved his father’s business into a building across the road from the original shop. His son Derek joined the business in the late 1960s, and they extended the building in Bridge Street to incorporate a drapery department. In the early 1970s, the drapery section of the business bought a van and became known as Russells Mobile Drapes. As the drapery section of the business grew rapidly it became a business in its own right.
Derek invited his son Peter to join the Russells drapery business, taking the family involvement in the business to four generations. Breaking away from the furniture business, they relocated the drapery shop to St. Vincent Street in 1987 and became known as Russells Curtains. Derek’s brother Bevan, who was the manager of G.P. Russell and Sons furniture shop, joined Derek and Peter Russell as their business’ first sales consultant. Russells Curtains operated one of the first mobile curtain showroom companies in New Zealand, being fully mobile by the mid-1980s.
As Russells Curtains, also known as Russells Window Fashions, continued to grow, Derek and Peter Russell opened shops in Blenheim and Richmond, and moved to a larger facility in Paru Paru Road, Nelson. By the early 1990s, they had a fully operational workroom on their premises and at least four sales consultants, winning the Nelson Chamber of Commerce Retail Excellence Award in 1991.
They developed a very modern and sophisticated computer system, which was the best in Australasia at the time, using a 10-megabyte computer. Russells was the first curtain retailer in New Zealand to write its own soft furnishing computer programme. This gave the sales consultants better tools to work with to produce more accurate, easy to read quotes and measures for customers. Russells Curtains developed a computer system. This new technology gave Russells Curtains the ability to operate a consultant remote from Nelson. By the mid-1990s, the business expanded outside the Nelson region into Christchurch, increasing from four sales consultants to ten. They also expanded the premises again, moving from Paru Paru Road to a purpose built building in Vanguard Street in 1994.
As the business continued to grow rapidly, the business was bought from the Russells in 1996 by a number of shareholders, the majority of who were Russells staff. They focussed trading on the Nelson area only.
In 2000 the business was put on the market, as the shareholders felt that more focus would result from one owner, rather than a group of owners. The business continued to run successfully under two different owners over the next three years. In 2003, the company was purchased by Bill and Jenny Liddell, who started in their role there in January 2004. Seeing the vision of the business, and the opportunities the technology presented, they expanded the business back into Christchurch, where their sales consultants have been operating successfully since then.
Bill and Jenny see their staff as their greatest asset. Russells Curtains prides itself on its workroom, with highly skilled, dedicated and hard-working staff. As long-time employee Trevor Gebbie said
‘It’s a passion for people in this business, more than just a job.’ - Trevor Gebbie
Russells Curtains is also very dedicated to service. Even when it is difficult to visit a customer’s home, they value Derek and Peter’s philosophy of being able take their showroom to people’s homes, no matter where they are, at no charge. Their old-fashioned honesty is a big factor for their clients, who receive high-quality products at very competitive prices. In keeping with its tradition of using the best technology in Australasia, Russells Curtains and Blinds use cutting-edge technology, allowing the processing of orders to commence in the workroom before a sales consultant has even left a client’s home.
Bill and Jenny purchased a Carpet One franchise in mid-2004, which added great value not only to their business, but also to their customers. But due to the growth of Russells Curtains and Blinds, Bill and Jenny allowed their Carpet One franchise to be sold in 2009.
Since early 2008, Russells Curtains and Blinds have branched out into the commercial market. Working well with their staff team, employees comment that Bill and Jenny are the right people with the right vision. With Bill’s excellent organisational skills and love for people, and Jenny’s skills as production manager in the sewing room, Russells Curtains and Blinds is an extremely positive company, offering their customers great knowledge, service and high-quality products delivered and installed within excellent time frames. They really do come to your door with the latest styles, colours and great savings!