Kelvin Furniture owner to retire; open to stock and IP offers

The owner of long-established classical furniture manufacturer Kelvin Furniture has confirmed plans to retire.

The business has launched a retirement sale and warehouse clearance following the announcement, while Tony Kelvin has also indicated he is open to offers.

“I’m retiring for a number of reasons,” Tony said. “I’m now 77 years old and have gone from manufacturing to retailing over the past 18 years, which I don’t particularly enjoy.

“I have kept the reproduction cabinet side of the business, www.kelvinfurniture.co.uk, but I’m looking to sell before the end of the year to pursue other interests.

“My son has taken over the general furnishing side of the business based in Leeds but also has a thriving internet site, so he might be looking at selling the retail arm of the business – although I’m not involved with that.”

Reflecting on his time in the industry, where once Kelvin Furniture turned over £12m in its prime, Tony experienced both tough and fond memories.

“Back in the day Kelvin Furniture, which has been established for over 50 years, were one of the largest reproduction furniture manufacturers in the UK employing over 100 people at the factory in Batley with only Foxes biscuits employing more.

“The business was highly successful, however the reproduction furniture market crashed in the early 90s with the advent of cheap imports from China. It became very difficult and in two years we lost two thirds of our turnover and 60% of the staff were made redundant.

“As we owned the building, I sold the business and agreed a very good rental, however what I didn’t realise was that the two people who bought the business were only interested in asset stripping and went bankrupt after 12 months.

“It was very sobering walking back into a 50,000sqft factory that once had been a hive of industry and was now an empty eerie shell. Around 18 months later I managed to sell the factory to a bed manufacturer, Dura Beds.

“I have very fond memories of the furniture trade and we exhibited at NEC for 15 years. Believe it or not, but this was the only time we met our customers as demand would outstrip supply, which is hard to believe but that’s how it was.

“We would also send all our customers a very good desk diary for Christmas and it was so popular that we would get phone calls from shops that never even sold our furniture!

“Now the time has come to retire and move on, so if anyone is interested in purchasing the stock and website, please email anthonykelvin@aol.com.”

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