Associated Independent Stores - UK buying group

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Sterling Furniture logo

Sterling Furniture joined AIS in 2001 and are one of the bigger members of AIS. They are a renowned Scottish regional chain operating from their base at Tillicoultry where visitors will also find a Garden Centre and choice of places to eat, drink and relax as well as browse the largest furniture store in the UK.

The vision for this flagship store, the first of 9, came from George Knowles Snr. who, back in 1974, saw how out of town developments were taking shape in America and believed the concept would also work in the UK.

The present MD is Gordon Mearns and the founders’ daughter Lesley Graham is Merchandise Director, and they, together with other Directors and senior managers, continue to take the company forward. Whilst the business started with furniture the main showroom building, with all its rooms and floors, now houses everything customers could need for their home including bathroom, lighting and cookware.

Overall, Sterling is a unique business that has benefited through its association with AIS and whose principals regularly attend AIS Regional meetings and Annual Conference to not only learn from those events but also to share their own experiences for the benefit of fellow members.