K&S McKenzie first opened its doors in 1968 in the Cumbrian city of Carlisle. At the time there was a shortage of parts suppliers to the commercial vehicle market in the area and it was this opportunity that Keith McKenzie knew was too good to let pass him by. 50 years on and that business is now one of the most well-respected motor factors in the North West.
Keith always had an eye for business and could spot a good opportunity a mile away. In 1972 he was on the lookout for some new premises and came across a newly developing industrial estate on the outskirts of the city. This location had excellent road links and was the perfect site for him to build K&S McKenzie’s new head office. They were one of just 10 businesses to move into the area that year, an area that today forms the largest industrial estate in Carlisle, home to the likes of Eddie Stobart, Travis Perkins, and ParcelForce Worldwide, to name but a few.
Keith owned the business with his wife Sara. They were the perfect team; Keith worked directly with the customers, and Sara took care of the day-to-day running of the office. Their dedication and team-work saw the business continue to thrive and before the decade was out they would further expand their warehouse and office.
The 1980s saw the next generation start to work in the business with Keith and Sara’s sons Stuart and Alastair taking active roles. This was also a period that saw K&S McKenzie meet a huge challenge – the decline of Keith’s health. This was an illness that was to stay with him for 11 years until his death in 1996. Keith’s sons spent this decade working alongside their father, soaking up the knowledge he held and learning about the things that really matter in business… good, honest service. It was the knowledge and passion Keith held that remained with Stuart and Alistair following his passing and still remains with them to this day.
Sara continued to manage the business, aided by her sons who over the years, and following in their father’s footsteps, were always on the lookout for new opportunities that would further elevate the service offering of K&S McKenzie. This saw the addition of lifting products to their portfolio, something which is today a major product in their range, as well as the launch of their website via which they sell thousands of products.
2006 brought with it the introduction of AdBlue to the market place which lead to another opportunity for the business and saw K&S McKenzie become one of the first companies to store and sell AdBlue. Today they are a major supplier of the product across the whole of the UK. They also provide an expert chain testing and calibration service, are a BOC Gas agent, and offer a wide-ranging variety of products and services unique to this motor factor.
The business operates all over the UK from its base in Carlisle and provides services to small businesses as well as delivering major contracts for large organisations stretching from the very northern tip of Scotland, down to the south coast of England.
When speaking about the factors that have helped the business reach this 50-year milestone Stuart McKenzie, Sales Director, says; “I learnt from my father the value of seizing opportunity, having a fantastic supply and distribution chain, and importantly on never swaying from the values and focus on service that formed the foundation of this business all those years ago. It is this that drives us forward, builds our customer base, and makes us more than just a motor factor”.