Nominated for:
• Best small business

• Family business of the year
• Lifetime achievement

Francis Kirk originated in 1868 and has continued to develop and grow ever since. The founding Francis Kirk launched the business as a tool shop 150 years ago with the simple aim to manufacture a quality tool for workmen to use. When the second generation, Thomas, became involved, he developed the company’s offering to include stocking the tools, not just making them. This enabled customers to have immediate access to stock rather than having to wait a couple of days to be able to complete projects. Then the third generation Kirk, James, came into the business after serving in World War II. He found that few people were offering fasteners and tools to large contracts like the MOD so he expanded the company’s offering to supply fasteners and the tools from the same place. This was deemed revolutionary at the time, as up until that point customers would have had to buy from two different suppliers.

When the fourth generation, Francis, joined the business the metric system was being introduced and, driven by his foresight – that the UK would be quickly moving away from imperial – Francis Kirk & Son Ltd became the first company in the UK to stock both Imperial and Metric socket screws. Francis – who is currently the Chairman – has spent 44 years in the business now. When the fifth generation Tom came into the business, he noticed that the company was supplying 75% of products to customers, but not the remaining 25%. So by strengthening supply chain links, the company was able to further improve the availability of clothing, PPE and abrasives – to become a single source one-stop-shop for customers. Fast forward to today and Francis Kirk is a modern day business now distributing nationally and internationally with operations all over the world. We are still based in Denton, Manchester, with a modern purpose-built 24000sq foot warehouse and office complex, complete with trade counter facilities which stock personal protective equipment, clothing and abrasives, power tools and cutting tools and fasteners is a convenient place for local trades to purchase supplies.

What town/city are you based in?
ManchesterLancashire (North West)

Number of generations
5th generation

Manufacturing – Building & construction industry

Number of employees