Local business celebrates 50 years

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Knareborough business Abbey Electrical is celebrating 50 years of business, taking on a new and exciting path.

The family-run business, which chalks up its half century later this month, was formed in 1974 by brother-in-laws David Smith and Graham Brown.

David was a qualified electrician and Graham had qualified as a domestic appliance engineer, working for Hotpoint and Hoover in the early 70s and both joined together in 1974 working from David's garage in Knaresborough.

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David was married to Graham’s sister Angela and she took on the role of accounts and receptionist.

David Smith at an Electrical trade show.David Smith at an Electrical trade show.
David Smith at an Electrical trade show.

In 1976, the business had outgrown the garage and they moved to their first shop on the High Street, Knaresborough.

Taking on many apprentices to repair small appliances and learn the electrical trade from David, and later taking on qualified engineers to repair larger domestic appliances, meaning they could now expand the business with retail sales - selling electrical goods and appliances.

During the late 80s, cousins Joanna and Melanie, the daughters of David and Graham, took on their first Saturday jobs from the age of 12 onwards.

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In 1994, Paul Barker joined the Abbey team as an appliance engineer having qualified from Durham College and has been with the family-run business for 30 years, Paul has been a huge part of the Abbey success with his dedication drive and passion for his work.

50 years50 years
50 years

Sadly, in 1996 David passed away with cancer at the age of 49, this was an incredibly difficult time for the family and the business, Graham didn't feel it was right to keep the business going without his friend and brother-in-law by his side, but after a lot of thought and discussions with family and colleagues they decided to keep it going in David's memory.

At the later end of 1996, aged 17, Claire, Graham’s youngest daughter joined the team as a small appliance apprentice and was also trained by Angela on the accountants and shop-keeping.

From here the business took on a different direction and concentrated on domestic appliance, repairs, spares and sales.

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The business carried on expanding needing a bigger premises and easier access for staff and customers, on February 20 2004, after 30 years of being on the High Street, Abbey Electricals moved their business to their new premises on Chain Lane, Knaresborough, with a bigger sales area and on-site parking.

an Apprentice in 1988 outside shop on high street an Apprentice in 1988 outside shop on high street
an Apprentice in 1988 outside shop on high street

Melanie came back and worked part time on a Thursday and Saturdays in the shop, Claire started training to be an appliance engineer along side her dad Graham but in 2017, Claire went on maternity leave and her sister Mel came to the business full time.

Unfortunately, in 2019 Graham was diagnosed with macular degeneration in his eyes, needing monthly injections into them, which meant he had to stop driving and take a step back from repairs and work in general.

Now aged 75, Graham has made the decision to hand the business over to both his daughters Melanie and Claire.

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Melanie, Paul and Claire will carry on the Abbey journey so Graham can spend more time at home with wife Maureen.

Graham at trade show  in the 70`s, meeting Rod Hull and EmuGraham at trade show  in the 70`s, meeting Rod Hull and Emu
Graham at trade show in the 70`s, meeting Rod Hull and Emu

Everyone at Abbey Electricals would like to thank all customers old and new for supporting it throughout the 50 years and everyone is invited to join the business for drinks, nibbles and share stories you may have on February 23, from 10am till 5pm.

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