Sale family-run business, Ashbrooks, now in its fifth generation

Messenger Newspapers: The family celebrates the 125th anniversary of Ashbrooks - (l ro r) Adam O’Brien, Derek Ashbrook, Arnold Ashbrook, Peter Ashbrook and Chris O’Brien The family celebrates the 125th anniversary of Ashbrooks - (l ro r) Adam O’Brien, Derek Ashbrook, Arnold Ashbrook, Peter Ashbrook and Chris O’Brien

ASHBROOKS, the furniture shop on Washway Road, Sale celebrates its 125th anniversary this month.

Customers are invited to join third generation proprietors, Arnold, Derek and Peter Ashbrook and Derek’s son-in-law, Chris O’Brien, for champagne and cake.

Arnold, who ran his own rock group before joining the business aged 24 in 1967, will play songs of the time on his keyboard at the celebration event on June 14.

“In the 1950s , an unknown Les Dawson, a sales rep for Hoover, installed our washing machines,” said Chris.

At that time, people queuing for the Odeon cinema would admire window displays of suites, patterned carpets, and mangles in the Sale shop.

Derek and Peter have worked for the firm since 1950 when they were respectively 15 and 17, a year after Sale opened.

Derek recalls cleaning windows and cutting brackets in bedsteads.

“Sometimes old people come in and say they remember me in short pants,” he said.

Chris’s 16-year-old son, Adam, who attends Sale Grammar School, helps on Saturdays – thus involving a fifth generation.

The company once owned three shops in Moss Side, Sretford and Sale. The first was opened in 1909, by Peter Ashbrook, a cabinet maker who, since 1889, had sold his own furniture.

He died young leaving a widow and six children. So it was the cousins’ grandmother who developed the business.

In the 1920s in Moss Side, they shared a horse with the local green grocer: “After he had taken it to market to buy vegetables, we would use it to deliver furniture,” said Chris.

“The great thing about family businesses is personal service,” said Arnold.

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