End of the line
One of Blenheim's oldest companies, and perhaps one of its lesser known, has been sold after nearly seven decades in business.
H A Hester, a manufacturing company established in 1946 that specialised in solid brass products, has been bought by Cambrian Engineering, of New Plymouth.
Owner Bruce McKendry took over the firm from its original owner Horace (Horrie) Arnold Hester in 1981.
Mr McKendry had to sell the company because of a downturn in the economy.
"We had our good years but it got more and more difficult," he said.
"It'd been going since 1946 so I carried it on for another 32 years."
The company found it hard to survive after imported brass products started coming into New Zealand, Mr McKendry said.
"Imports were coming in and local manufacturing was going out. It was difficult times but we picked it up and cranked it up as much as we could."
He moved to Blenheim from Rangiora in 1980 and a year later became the new owner of H A Hester, near Riverlands.
Mr McKendry's brother, Peter, knew the previous owner Horrie, which led to him taking over.
"Horrie had suffered a stroke and was quite unwell," Mr McKendry said.
"He had run the business down, unfortunately, just because of his health. It was tough times in those years."
Keeping the business going for 32 years had been a team effort.
"Our staff were damn marvellous. They were the heart of the business," Mr McKendry said.
His sons John, Mark and Michael have taken turns at running the business alongside their father but were off doing their own thing, he said.
The new owners from New Plymouth had asked if they could carry on the Hester name, Mr McKendry said.
"It will still be H A Hester's business. That was one of the things that was quite nice about it."
Mr McKendry is now looking forward to working on some projects of his own.