Established in 1962 by Douglas and Joan Farnworth, Homespares have been supplying appliances and domestic appliance spare parts for over 55 years.
1962 The Beginning
Previously employed by Waltons For Washers and then Hoover, Doug and Joan Farnworth opened a retail business at 154 Blackburn Road, Bolton, providing washing machine sales and services.
1963 Officially WML Limited
Lancashire Washing Machine Company became official. We registered at Companies House on 4th June 1963, gaining incorporation status as a limited company.The name was subsequently changed to Washing Machines (Lancashire) Limited on 19th August when the first board meeting was held at 2.30pm at 14 Acresfield Close, Bolton.
Despite the other names that followed, WML continues to this day as the group name, WML Industrial Holdings Limited.
1973 Marked the first exhibition at Domotechnica, an international trade fair for Household Appliances held in Cologne, Germany. This signified the beginning of a fundamental relationship with Domotechnica that has continued throughout the life of Homespares.
1975 Launch of the DDR Brand
In 1975 the DDR brand was launched. DDR stood for Durability, Dependability and Reliability and saw the introduction of pre-packaged spare parts.
1979 Installed first computer
Debra Percival Sales Administrator Joined in 1979. Left the business in 2017.
‘I joined Homespares when it was WML Limited in Bolton. Immediately I was struck by the friendliness of the Company and how they treated all staff like one of the family. I began servicing the DDR brand as well as overseeing the Cash and Carry wholesalers’.
‘Back then, technology was sparse, we wrote invoices by hand, replicating them as needed and typing them up on a typewriter. Communication was different too, the telephone switchboard had plugs to connect the calls and we used a telex machine to send urgent messages’.
1980 Relocation to Boundary Industrial Estate
The growth of WML sparked a move to Boundary Industrial Estate. The move helped us to establish the company as a leading ‘pattern’ spare parts supplier with an extensive inventory of unique products. More units had to be built to house packaging, our backup stores and our bulk stores. Eventually, these were taken over by Millfield Estates who are part of the WML Group.
1982 Acqusition of RH Components
The acquisition of RH Components would eventually lead to the birth of Homespares Scotland based in Dunfirmline.
1982 The Beginning Of Homespares
Continuous growth activated a name change from WML to Homespares Centres Limited. Homespares implies the provision of a diverse range of products and spare parts for appliances and the home helping us to expand. Alongside the name change arrived a brand overhaul including the industries first ever colour catalogue.
Andrew Swarsbrick, Sales Director joined 1984
‘After being made redundant from BP Tanker Co. I joined Homespares in 1984 on a temporary basis and haven’t looked back since. During my time here, the company has introduced many name and branding changes and has gone from manufacturing non-genuine spare parts in Homespares factories to genuine spare parts and products for larger organisations’.
‘Whilst working for Homespares some of my favourite memories have been due to customers. In particular there was an American customer and supplier called Jack Dick who took myself and John Farnworth to his daughter’s school American football match in the middle of nowhere with the fuel light on, even stopping at a petrol station to ask for directions without filling up!’
1985 to 1987 Homespares Bolton & Bury Basketball Club
Homespares were the team sponsor of the local basketbally club, coming on board when it encountered financial difficulties and took the club over to protect the brand. With TV coverage proved by a fledgling Channel4, the profile of the business and the brand was raised nationwide.
Graham Hunter, Sales Representative Joined 1985
‘I began at Homespares as a trainee rep in 1985. During my time with the company there have been many changes but one ongoing feature is that Homespares still employ sales representatives as it did in 1985. My job involves numerous tasks such as liaising with customers, introducing new products and handling customer enquiries personally’.
‘In 1985, Homespares was mainly a patterned domestic appliance spare parts company with both a trade counter and delivery vans. Back then the volume of goods seemed higher, and in general demands seemed a lot easier than in today’s markets. The industry in general. Has changed from constant repair of machines with profit-making parts for both us and the customer, to more one-off genuine parts with little profit which creates a bigger challenge for us all’
1986 Gardenpride Watering System Launch
With the launch of the Gardenpride Watering System, we ventured into the garden sector alongside the lawn mower spare parts which we began to stock.
1986 Member of the British Hardware Federation
1988 John Farnworth joined the business
1989 Unifit Brand
At the end of 1989, we purchased Unifit from Vacspare, a strong brand renowned for vacuum cleaner paper dust bags and its prepackaged range of vacuum cleaner consumables such as vacuum cleaner filters, vacuum cleaner tools and vacuum cleaner belts as well as genuine Hotpoint spare parts. Nowadays, Unifit is a retail brand focussed offering attractive modern packaging with easy to find information for the consumer. It is a unique fit for retailers looking for space saving, balanced, well packaged, revenue generating range of universal appliance accessories for in and around the home.
1992 First In House Catalogue
Up until 1992, Homespares created their catalogues by providing the printers with a handwritten copy of the catalogue. This was the first year the company integrated with the printer using Windows and Adobe Pagemaker on an Intel Pentium PC to produce a 200 page catalogue.
2000 John Farnworth Managing Director
The start of the new millennium brought significant changes to Homespares with the appointment of John Farnworth as Managing Director.
2000 Revolutionary Ordering System
In 2000 we launched a CD ROM based catalogue, incorporating an online ordering facility.
2000 Launch of Homespare.com
The launch of Homespare.com saw the addition of new search features and an easy to update web console.
All manufacturers price lists were made available through the website with descriptions, model information, images, prices and stock availability. For the first time customers could see their account information at the click of the mouse.
2002 Launch of Unifit.co.uk
The Unifit website was launched in 2002 and offered a reference point for consumers – providing a range of consumables and accessories for in and around the house.
2007 Harrison Distribution
The acquisition of commercial catering spare parts and accessories specialist, Harrison Distribution, ignited our move towards the more commercial market. We also acquired Mark Banfield in the process who continues to work on Product.
This gave us the ability to supply a complete range genuine , ‘grey’ and non genuine spare parts covering the main manufacturers as well as being able to source parts for the less well known manufacturers.
2007 Relocation to Firwood Industrial Estate
Boundary Industrial Estate was fast becoming too small for the growing company and the inability for the company to add any new products meant new premises were desparatly needed. Property in Bolton was sparse but fortunately, by 2006, two buildings became available in the area, allowing Homespares to relocate whilst still retaining staff. Firwood Industrial Estate, a modern 31,000sq ft facility is our current location.
2007 Authorised Distributor of A Brands
We offer a wide range of Spare Parts and Consumables for your Home from a number of the leading manufacturers. Some of the brands we distribute are Aeg, Belling, Bosch, Bruns, Burco, Candy, Electrolux, Glisten, Hoover, Hotpoint, Indesit, Neff, Numatic, Sebo, Siemens, Severin, Stoves, VTAC, Whirlpool and Zanussi.
2008 Jeroen Van Drunen Managing Director
After John Farnworth moved to become the managing director of WML Industrial Holdings, Jeroen was appointed the new Managing Director.
This was the beginning of the Dutch influence in an English company. During this period, further development was made by expanding the range of original spare parts, the launch of a new website and adding more accessories and consumables for domestic appliances. Jeroen put a particular emphasis on marketing, introducing special offers leaflets, email updates and quarterly newsletters – along with a range of catalogues.
2009 Mainframe Integration with Homespare.com
2009 saw the integration of the mainframe computer into our websites with the launch of three new websites; Homespare.com, Unifit.co.uk and Catering-Parts.co.uk; including live stock, product and price information.
2011 HSCL Rebrand
2011 saw Homespares rebaranded as HSCL (Homespares Centres Limited) due to the expansion of our product portfolio and many brand names. Were we Homespares, Unifit or Commercial Catering Spares? How do we answer the telephone?
It was felt that the name was a more modern twist which reflected the dynamic nature of the business.
As well as a new name and logo we introduced a corporate statement that reflects the three cornerstones of what we stand for and have stood for since inception. ‘Service, Delivery, Trust’.
These values have been maintained throughout our Company’s life and have enabled us to sustain our reputation and integrity in a fast moving industry.
‘Our success lies in our ability to listen to our customers and tailor a service that fits to their specific requirements. Our corporate statement, ‘Service, Delivery, Trust’ encompasses a service offering built around a professional team of individuals who take care to ensure each customer receives a first rate service’.
2015 Jeroen returned to The Netherlands and a new Managing Director was appointed.
2016 Move back to the Homespares name.
2016 Acquire Exserve
2017 John and Douglas Farnworth return to the businesss
After a very interesting couple of years, in May 2017, John and Douglas Farnworth returned to the day to day running of the business after a 10 year absence and with a dedicated staff aim to take the business ‘back to basics’ encompassing tried an trusted methods to ensure an excellent customer experience.
‘We are building a new business and taking a back to basics approach. Why complicate something? The changes to the industry whilst we have not had day to day involvement is amazing and present us with many opportunities.
We are investing heavily in the business to bring it right up to date and as a result quicker and faultless turnaround of orders will be reached thanks to our investment in our warehouse facility and IT services. We will continue to improve our product ranges and our stock availability with our aim of being both our suppliers and customers best and preferred partner.
We have a superb team of people at Homespares who are dedicated to take this company forward and with the introduction of our new systems in August 2018, I am very confident in the future.’
12th March - Warehouse Fire
On the evening of Thursday 12th March 2020, Homespares experienced a devasting fire destroying our warehouse at Firwood Industrial Estate.
"There is no doubt that this is a devasting event for our family business and we are grateful that there were no injuries in managing this fire. We are working closely with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, who have been working overnight to bring this fire under control. We will be reflecting on how we recover in the coming days and weeks."
The news travelled fast through our staff and on social media, with the majority of our employees coming down to show their support. It was great to see everyone come together as the Homespares/Adboards family combined and support each other through this devasting and shocking news.
For more information click here.
If experiencing the fire wasn't enough, the COVID-19 pandemic hit us and Britian went into lockdown on 23rd March 2020. This prolonged the progress of developing plans of the future of Homespares. We have spent alot of time discussing and coming up with several options for the business and deciding which would be the best option. It was clear we all wanted the business to reopen - we now needed to find new premises and start to rebuild Homespares.
As lockdown eased and things started to get back to the new 'normal' we found new offices and a new warehouse in Bolton. As we all work together to get Homespares up and open again, we'd like to Thank everyone for all their hard work and support.
Working from home trying to organise the reopening of Homespares was hard work, however during the lockdown we were able to find a new warehouse and started the plan of reopening. At the start of August 2020 we reopened and started trading from Unit 4 Riverside, Bolton, BL1 8TU.
We are all looking forward to the next chapter of Homespares.
Our Long Standing Employees
Over the last 56 years we have employed some really special people. The people below all worked for Homespares for over 25 years. We thank you.