For many, the kitchen has never been such an integral part of the home, and we talk to expert Sue Dix from family-run AGA specialists Walter Dix & Co to discover the changes she has seen and how important it is to keep up with the latest kitchen trends and technological advances
Who are Walter Dix & Co?
The Company was established in 1888 by my Great Grandfather and four generations of Dix family have played a major part in moving the Company forward over the last 130 years. Walter Dix & Co now specialise in range cookers and cooking and refrigeration products, and with fellow business partner and director Jock Bolam, we’re constantly looking to expand our portfolio in an ever-changing market place. Our main product is AGA, and we have been the appointed distributor since 1931.
Is there anything that’s remained the same over the past 20 years?
AGA is still very much at the heart of what we do, but the brand has evolved dramatically over the last 20 years. They’ve created a ‘family’ of cast iron products, from the new generation of Dual Control and Total Control, to the versatile Everyday cookers, available in 90cm and 100cm widths, which give greater flexibility and have clever options such as lower running costs and induction hobs, all without losing that wonderful warm feeling so indicative of the AGA. New colours also add to the appeal and help add a more contemporary look to what has been seen as a traditional cooker. Whilst AGA is enjoying something of a renaissance, we can see they’re not necessarily for everyone, so we also now carry a wider selection of range of cookers (including other cast iron cookers such as Esse and Everhot), built-in cookers, extraction hoods and refrigeration.
What’s been the biggest challenge?
The greatest challenge is to constantly monitor the changing trends, ensuring what we display keeps up with what customers want. We try our hardest to provide quality products which will give many years of great cooking, and we also strive to give the best unbiased and informative advice to customers. Many customers come to us with a fixed idea of what they want but are unaware of the many options available to them, so we help them make an informed choice.
We hold regular cookery demonstrations and are hoping to introduce more with different themes. We’ll also have lots of new products for 2019, so there will be some updates to the showroom.
What single event has most captivated and impressed you in the North East since 1999?
I really enjoy the Great North Run weekend each year. There’s a good feel in the city, with people from all over the UK enjoying the whole experience. The City Games and the junior events on Saturday are great too. For the last two years I’ve taken part in the Macmillan Mighty Hike to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support which also attracts a lot of people from outside the region who want to carry out a challenge of walking a marathon amongst some of the most harsh, extreme, but abundantly beautiful and unspoilt landscapes in the UK.
What do you think is so special about the North East?
There is so much diversity to it. The cities are full of fun and culture with so much to see and do, the countryside is remotely beautiful and the coastline is our best asset.
Is there a must-not-miss place you would take your friends to?
My favourite place is Newton by the Sea on the Northumberland Coast. It is special to all of the Dix family as generations of us have spent all our holidays there. My favourite view is looking out toward Dunstanburgh Castle from the top of Newton sand dunes.