- History of Bonningtons
The History of Bonningtons - First Generation
Bonningtons was founded in 1967 by Paul Fisher, with nothing more than a cash sum of £200 and a telephone. Bonningtons' first premises was an old bakehouse in the village of Sutton Bonnington, Leicestershire and the first items Paul bought and sold were hosepipe and rubber sheeting. Paul had a sales background in the Rubber Industry and would go on to become Chairman of three companies with a turnover of £2 million.
Paul was no stranger to hard work, in fact, he thrived on it, working 15 hours per day, 7 day per week, while still making it to the pub for last orders!
Not long after Bonningtons began, Paul decided to take on his first employee, who was to become the Production Manager for the Company. Before long, the company outgrew the old bakehouse and had to move to a 8000 sq ft factory in the nearby village of Long Whatton (pictured above). In 1971, Bonningtons started to manufacture their own products in order to gain more control over pricing and meet demand in the industry.
Thanks to Paul Fisher's sheer hard work and determination, Bonningtons soon needed more manufacturing equipment and facilities, and the company took the opportunity to buy local manufacturing company, Millwood Rubber.
By 1979 the company achieved a turnover in 4 days exceeding that of its entire first year, manufacturing 80% of the total products supplied. Bonningtons manufactured mud flaps, rubber mouldings, pelmet sections and door seals (all for the commercial vehicle trade). After purchasing further machinery the company was able to start manufacturing braided PVC tubing, garden hose, non-toxic clear hose and a variety of tubing. Even throughout recession and hard times, Paul Fisher maintained confidence and a sheer determination to succeed. In 1980 he acquired a number of hose fittings and accessories which were a great addition to the garden and hosepipe already being manufactured by the company.
Before long, Paul had enough products to start exhibiting at the NEC, Birmingham and also began to export into the European market.
The History of Bonningtons - Second Generation
In 2001, Paul's son, Ian Fisher joined the business and Bonningtons began importing products from China under the Kingfisher brand name. During the first few years, new ranges of hose reel sets and promotional cutting tools were introduced which were completely new to the market and immediately a huge commercial success. Subsequently new range of garden sundries, garden accessories, solar lighting, greenhouses and garden games were introduced, which resulted in a rapid increase in turnover.
In 2007 bonningtons identified the need for a new range to address the seasonality of the business which resulted in the acquisition of a catering disposables company and the birth of Kingfisher Catering. Soon new ranges of heating, housewares and bird care items were also introduced.
The entire family continues to have a role within the business. The original founders Paul and Marilyn Fisher who are both semi-retired, have a very keen interest in the development of the business, what the business stands for, and how it will develop and grow in the future.
Our Customers - Our Brands
Bonningtons has always built strong relationships with small to medium "value for money" retailers. Our original Kingfisher brand consisted of a range of products catering primarily for this customer demographic.
In 2016 after careful consideration we took the decision to re-brand the business. This decision was made for three key reasons: to demonstrate the new professionalism of the business; to enable the business to develop new brands that complement the existing Kingfisher ranges; to build trade relationships with new customers and markets that had previously been inaccessible. We spent many months designing entirely new company branding and developed a variety of new category brands. In order to communicate and introduce the new branding to our existing customers and the trade, we invested heavily in trade shows, exhibiting for 2016 and 2017, and also significant advertising and public relations in the trade press.
This new and innovative branding has demonstrated that Bonningtons has the capacity and vast range of products to cater for different markets. It has allowed us to communicate and build new trade relationships with a variety of different customers that we historically found difficult. Additionally, the new branding has allowed us to consider brand acquisitions that will work well under the Bonningtons brand umbrella.