The Finest Quality And Design

Inspired to launch his company by the birth of his two children and create the perfect name, Toby Lister of Somax Kitchens speaks to Gail Bailey about the journey so far, and exciting plans for the future. Photography: Kirsten Platt

Aside from five years in London gaining his BA Honours Degree in Furniture and Product Design, Toby Lister has been living and working in the Ribble Valley.

“My parents were property developers in and around Clitheroe and I worked in the family business initially where I gained a firm foundation in the construction and development sector,” explains Toby. From here he moved to one of the country’s leading kitchen specialists, where he spent 13 years in the projects division working with developers all over the North West.

Toby went on to run a showroom on Deansgate in Manchester for two years. It was during this time, and having had two children close together, that the commute to the city every day became difficult: “In all honesty I was missing out on my children growing up, and this was the catalyst to starting my own company, so in 2009 Somax Kitchens was founded.

“Coming up with a company name can be difficult,” Toby adds. “But ours derives from the names of our two children Sophie and Max – they were the original inspiration, so it’s a perfect fit.”

After three years working from home building Somax Kitchens, Toby moved the business to Shackletons Home and Garden Centre in Chatburn, just three minutes away from home and the ideal location to further develop Somax: “I was invited to take a section of the retail space, and we have recently celebrated a decade being based here – it has been the perfect location to develop both the retail and project arms of the business. Next year we will be moving into new premises, here on-site, which will enable us to double in size.”

Being a family-owned business, Somax pride themselves on being as friendly and personal as they are professional. The kitchen is the hub of the family home and Toby and his team take time to get to know their customers so they can create the ideal space.

Somax offer Rational Kitchens who have been a leading German kitchen manufacturer for over 55 years and have created some of the most stunning kitchens in the world: “We only offer luxury German kitchen furniture by Rational. Having worked as a kitchen designer at the very top end of the German furniture market, I know good quality, but I also know value for money and Rational offers both.

“Every project and budget is different, and as experienced kitchen designers we will only deliver imaginative and creative solutions to fit everyone’s brief.”

Somax believe in specialising in products that they trust and working with both Rational and also NEFF kitchen appliances, ensures this. They are a Neff 5*Master Partner – a collection of elite retailers across the UK with specialist expertise and knowledge.

“Being a 5* Master Partner gives us a real advantage as we have access to certain products others don’t. NEFF hold 70 per cent of the UK home appliance market share and only 5 per cent of those suppliers are 5* Master Partners, so it’s an accolade of which we are very proud,” Toby says.

Somax Projects Division works with a number of developers that they have built successful relationships with over the years: “We have recently supplied kitchens on a development with over 100 houses in Alderley Edge, three luxury £3.5 million houses in Hale and more locally a site of eight properties in Mellor Brook.” But as Toby explains: “All our projects get the same attention to detail and professional service we know we are renowned for, regardless of size or quantity on the project.”

Toby and his wife Catherine, who spent a career in the medical sector, have lots of ideas and plans for the future in addition to the expansion of the new showroom – one concept could be to provide a range of kitchens that will be specifically for those with disabilities, who struggle with using standard fitted kitchen units.

“It’s a cliché but I am passionate about kitchen design. It is a love affair that has spanned over 26 years and I continue to be excited about what the future holds.”

Somax Kitchens
Shackletons Home & Garden
Clitheroe Road, Chatburn BB7 4JY
01200 441995



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