End of an era as historic Chesterfield store set to close after nearly 100 years of trading
It is the end of an era for a family-run electrical supply store in Chesterfield, which is closing at the end of this month after nearly 100 years.
Brothers Dennis, 81 and John, 76 who run Kirby & Sons have decided to cease trading at the end of March.
Their father Frederick Charles Kirby set up the electrical goods business in the town back in the late 1920s.
Frederick initially set up Kirby & Sons on Manor Road in Brimington Common before moving into 6 Lordsmill Street in 1932 during the Great Depression.
The business eventually relocated down the street into the old British Electrical Repairs factory in the mid 1980s where they remained.
The family chose to close the much-loved shop which sells electrical equipment and spare parts for motorbikes, cars, buses and trucks partially down to a loss of trade but also because both the directors wanted to retire.
Despite both the brothers having children of their own, there was no one who wanted to take over the family business.
"We are just getting old and decrepit and we are both looking to retire", said Dennis.
"Most of the customers are sorry to see us go or so they told us, but you can't go on forever.
"I genuinely feel sad to be packing up but time has overtaken us and business has changed.
"I think my father genuinely would be disappointed to see it go.”
A total of four employees will be let go when the company which still has working car ignition parts from the 1930s, officially closes down on March 31.
Dennis started working Saturdays at the store in 1955 to earn pocket money, run errands and learn the ropes of the business, while his younger brother joined in 1960.
The director recalled how in a time before FedEx, Amazon and next day delivery existed, bus companies would deliver parcels to garages and customers could meet drivers to pick goods up.
"They used to ring us up, order bits and we would parcel them up and put them on a bus”, he added.
"We have got some old stuff, quite a bit of pre-war bits and pieces, components for vehicles.
"In those days, they made stuff to last, not like today.”
The decline of the town’s engineering industry contributed to brother’s decision to close their doors for good.
John said: “A lot of the customers have gone now from Chesterfield, there wasn't the business potential there that we used to have.
"It gradually disappeared as the mines shut down, we didn't do a lot of business with the coal board but we did a lot of business with the contractors who did coal mining.”
The brothers thanked their regulars for their business over the years, adding that they promise to stay in touch.
"It's been very good, we've had a few moments as most brothers do but generally we've done well", John added.
"I will miss customers the most, we have got very friendly with a lot of them.”