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Company Takes Shape...
in the mid-60s, a desire for independence in business
led to John Hornby Skewes forming a small musical instrument
agency and wholesale business based at his home address
in Garforth, near Leeds, England. Previously a sales
representative with Hohner, followed by a short stint
with legendary early 60's British guitar company Fenton-Weill,
John Skewes had learnt enough about serving the music
trade to make the most of his own opportunity for involvement.
the help of wife Madge, his new business steadily began
to take off, and soon his home address was no longer capable
of holding the now-considerable throughput of musical
merchandise which by this time included some self-branded
lines, and so the first of various local storage premises
were acquired by means of expansion. At one time, these
included the old Garforth cinema and car park, the old
victorian Police Station and two Methodist chapels.
late 1965 and now firmly established as a limited company,
JHS joined the burgeoning government-inspired export market
drive by securing their first international customers,
reinforced by a company presence at the following year's
Frankfurt Music Fair, since which time the company has
attended annually with an ever-stronger presence.
was one of the first companies to appreciate the manufacturing
benefits of a truly international catalogue, and since
those early steps abroad, imported merchandise has taken
precedence in the JHS catalogue, with the Far East and
the USA playing a prominent role in providing JHS with
Substantial growth with loyal staff and a sound customer
base has seen John Hornby Skewes become a leader in worldwide
distribution of musical merchandise, instrument amplification
and pro-audio equipment. That effective early decision
to carry self-branded merchandise continues to this day
too, and JHS also have international distribution for
their comprehensive signature Fret-King electric
guitars, Encore and Vintage acoustic and
electric guitar and bass range, Antoni stringed
instruments, Kinsman cases and Odyssey brass
and woodwind instruments.
Many other JHS-branded instruments and accessories also
feature throughout the music product range, from brass
and woodwind, to percussion. In fact, browsing through
this year's JHS catalogue range reveals over 4,000 products
under some 50 brand names, with a customer base covering
over 30 different countries.
a huge, purpose-built warehousing complex spread over
a four-acre site on the outskirts of Garforth means that
this company, now the largest family-owned independent
musical merchandise distributor in the UK, will continue
to thrive and expand.
JHS is actively involved on a demonstration and promotion
basis in the many music and consumer shows which take
place throughout the UK and the world every year. Plus,
as a further means of product promotion, JHS have also
organised their own annual trade-only exhibition show,
the JHS Event, over recent years as an effective focus
of presentation for the company's extensive catalogue.
This is held on the company's Garforth premises, and the
continuing success of the JHS Event means it has quickly
become an established part of the music business calendar,
attended by a significant number of names from both the
retail trade and music press.
Ever aware of the need for continuous product
promotion in an increasingly competitive market, JHS launched "Gear", a musicians' magazine distributed
free to a huge customer database as well as throughout
the UK in the vast majority of music shops. With a print
run of over 200,000, "Gear" has
already enjoyed considerable success both with readers,
customers and trade alike.
the past 47 years, John Skewes has become established
as a figurehead in the British musical instrument industry.
He was elected president of the Association of Musical
Instrument Industries in 1987/88. John continues his work
in this area with an active role in the (now) Musical
Industries Association, forwarding his ideal of promoting
healthy trading practices backed up by positive innovation.
As far as hobbies are concerned, he is a keen golfer and
is a past captain of Garforth Golf Club.
Directors of John Hornby Skewes & Co. Ltd.
John Hornby Skewes Chairman.
Madge Skewes Deputy Chairman.
Drumm Joined as Area Sales Manager in 1980. Became
the Executive Director 1985, a main board Director in
1987, and in April 2003 was appointed Managing Director.
Drumm (nee Skewes) Joined after graduating in 1973.
Director since 1979.
Malcolm (nee Skewes) Commenced July 1987. Director
George Bell Joined in 1983 as an Assistant Accountant. Became Executive Director, Treasury in 2004. Appointed as Financial Director (main board member) and Company Secretary in 2012.
Paul Smith Joined in 2000 as Purchasing Manager. Became Executive Director of Purchasing and Logistics in 2005, a main board Director in 2012.