DIVERSIFYING has been the key to the success of Admiral Homespace, winner of Retailer of the Year at last years Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards. The company expanded its offering from just windows and conservatories five years ago after seeing that the market was maturing, managing director Steve Thorogood told The Hunts Post. The move into offering loft conversions, orangeries and flat roofing led to a rebranding from Admiral Windows and Conservatories, Hunts Post Business of the Year in 2004, to Admiral Homespace. Four or five years ago the market changed, and we were able to react, said Mr Thorogood. Conservatories went from must-haves to a more specialised market, and many companies fell by the wayside. We expanded the range of products we offered and now we like to think we can find a solution for all customers. Weve stopped saying no if our customers want it, we will try to supply it. Mr Thorogood said Admiral Homespace had benefited from what he called the cross-fertilisation of customers looking for different products. With the range of products we offer, customers come back time and again. After all, if someone has done a good job with your conservatory, you will trust them with your loft conversion, he said. Admiral has a showroom in Alconbury, and has expanded to premises in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. An improved web presence has also boosted business for the company. Weve tried to stay ahead of the game, and so far weve not seen too much of an impact from the credit crunch, said Mr Thorogood. We are a business that was founded in 1989, in the depths of the last recession when interest rates were at 14 per cent, so we have been through tough times already. Mr Thorogood pointed to the flexibility and adaptability of Admirals approach as a key reason for its strength. We realise the importance of change, he said. You always have to embrace change, because in our business it is change or die. Weve expanded what we offer, and changed how we offer it, which is a big reason we are up year-on-year over the past two years. Mr Thorogood said the external stamp of approval provided by the Business Awards was a crucial endorsement for a retailer. The Business Awards are especially important to businesses in the retail sector, because sometimes our industry doesnt have the best of reputations, he said. The endorsement from a respected third party makes a difference, and makes customers feel more comfortable and safer. It is also a fantastic morale boost to the staff, who feel that their hard work is being rewarded.