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Did you know Midland Chandlers started from humble beginnings in 1979 initially trading from a boatyard shed situated at the Parkgate Lock in Penkridge?
Peter Jones acquires the Parkgate Lock site in Penkridge. It becomes a boatyard and workshops including a chandlery.
Peter Jones separates the business into Midland Chandlers, run by himself, and Teddesley Boat Company which is run by Peter and Linda Millward. Midland Chandlers goes from strength to strength and the name becomes synonymous with fitting out a narrowboat as the leisure boating industry grows. In the years to come, products would even be produced just for Midland Chandlers, including the Premier back cabin range, which was produced in the Isle of Man.
Another store at Wharf House, Braunston Bottom Lock is opened. This also proves popular as it is the heart of the UK canal network with many builders and hire fleets in the area, same as today.
A new franchise venture is tried by filling shelves at the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum with Midland Chandlers’ stock, which could be purchased from the gift shop within the museum.
Midland Chandlers’ Braunston store moves to its current location opposite the famous and often-photographed ‘double bridge’ junction – Braunston Junction, between the North Oxford and the Grand Union/South Oxford canals.
A third store is opened at Preston Brook, on the Bridgewater Canal in Cheshire, following the success of the venture at Ellesmere Port.
Midland Chandlers celebrates its 25 year anniversary by producing a limited range of celebratory stickers – unfortunately these have been lost in time, if anyone has one please get in touch!
Midland Chandlers is acquired by Arleigh Group, headed by Alastair Thomas. It is merged with Marine Mart, Arleigh’s marine division, and the combined company continues to grow.
Arleigh Group relocates to a new 35,000 sq ft purpose-built warehouse in Nuneaton – Century Park.
A fourth store opens at Mercia Marina in Willington, on the Trent and Mersey Canal near Derby. This was as part of a new marina development which is now a premier tourist destination.
Arleigh Group acquires Nova Leisure, a caravan and motorhome parts supplier to the trade.
Century Park is expanded by another 11,000 sq ft.
Arleigh Group acquires Unipart Leisure and Marine’s motorhome business to add to the growing portfolio.
Another 18,000 sq ft extension is added to Century Park, this time for offices and warehouse space.
Arleigh Group revenue hits 25 million. At this time there was a total of 92 staff employed. Later in the year Arleigh Group is acquired by LKQ.
Arleigh Group acquires ASAP Supplies, a large retail and trade company selling offshore and inland marine items.
Arleigh Group acquires Aquafax, the premier supplier of chandlery and marine items to the trade.
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