Birthday Knees up planned for 140-year-old Wiltshire firm

By Anita Jaynes on 12 August, 2019

Wiltshire-based household appliance firm, Knees, is celebrating its 140th anniversary this September with a birthday party weekend. 

A photo taken from inside the old Knees of Trowbridge store.

The company, which was founded in 1879 in Trowbridge, began life as an ironmongers and manufacturers. It is still owned by the family and the current Chairman of the Board, Marcus Holbrow, is the great grandson of its founder, Henry John Knee. At different times in its long history, Knees has done almost everything including car sales and home removals.

Josie Nicholls, a spokesperson for Knees, explained, “We have diversified a lot even in the last few years, particularly in the retail side of the business. Probably our biggest recent change is moving out of the town centre where we were a department store that was known for selling everything. This business model wasn’t really sustainable anymore because of the likes of Amazon so we had to evolve.”  

The store – which is now located at Spitfire Retail Park in Trowbridge – now focusses specifically on selling home furniture and kitchen appliances. Josie continued, “It’s hard for an area to see its shops change so dramatically, but we want to be in business for another 140 years, so we have become a lot more specific about the kind of products that we sell.” 

However, despite all these changes, Knees has still managed to retain its family orientated ethos. 

“The one thing that Knees has always had is an extra warmth and care about the people in the business,” said Josie. “These family values extend to the employees and customers alike.” Marcus, who has worked for the firm for 51 years, told The Business Exchange, “We remain always mindful that customer service and the support of the local community is at the forefront of our continuing success story.”

Andy Pickford, Managing Director for Knees, added, “We now find ourselves 140 years old and proud to look back at our heritage but even more excited to look to the future.”

The celebrations will span the whole weekend beginning with a birthday breakfast on Friday 13th September. 

Pictured above: Inside the new Spitfire Retail Park shop.