Two long-established independent ironmongers in the Lake District, Middletons of Kendal and Musgraves of Windermere, embraced a change of identity this autumn as they joined Home Hardware.
Middletons was founded in 1773 and was bought by current owner Jonty Mayo’s grandparents Frank and Ruby Mayo in 1944. They moved into the store’s present premises in 1965 to give them more space, but kept the Middletons name.
Customers are reminded of the shop’s heritage by a display of vintage tools hanging from the rafters in the rear of the store.
Musgraves was set up in 1880 by Phillip Musgrave, and Jonty Mayo believes the store was originally a warehouse built around the time of the Windermere railway station. Jonty and his father and mother took over the business in 1976, and it is now run by Jonty, his wife Gillian and their son Nick, who is the third generation.
Whilst the stores embrace the fact that they are traditional ironmongers, offering a good range of loose ironmongery, they have evolved over the years and added new ranges including cookshop, paint mixing and electrical accessories.
Commenting on his new Home Hardware membership, Jonty Mayo said: “The Home Hardware promotional brochures have been superb for sales and learning about our ranges as we try things we never thought we could sell. A typical example would be the sewing machine from the 2011 Christmas brochure, which was a real winner for us. We could buy in single units and treat Home Hardware as our stock room.”