The first record we have of Massey Bros trading from our mill in Holmes Chapel is a letter dated 1878 when Edward Massey Jnr agreed to buy wheat at 7s 3d cwt. The company had been founded by Edward Massey who had four sons, Harry, Edward, Tom and John. In those days it was known as Edward Massey & Sons. On the death of Edward Snr in 1883, it became Massey Bros.
Tom Massey was left the Mill which was rented from the Cranage Hall Estate. Subsequently, in 1919, he purchased the site. At this time the company was taking in grain and grinding it on the old millstones to be returned to farm as animal feed.
Tom had two sons and in 1926 Thomas (known as Mr Dick) joined the business. It was Mr Dick who saw that technology was moving on. He wanted to improve quality and throughput and so offer a better service. He installed the first disintegrator in 1933. Today, this machine is known as a grinder and is an integral part of our process. Then in 1936, Dick’s brother, John (known as Mr Jack) also joined the company so that again Massey brothers were helping run the business.
In 1944, Wm Loose & Co of Stockport was purchased and in 1946 the company grew when the Derbyshire business of Thomas Belfield was purchased. The site of our store in Longnor (from where Thomas Belfield operated) was rented until 1971 when it was bought from the brewers, Ind Coope. This site was given a unique license to sell beer by the case and the store is still used today. Here not only can animal feeds be bought but also beer and cider!
In 1966 Dick’s son, Richard joined the company. The company was selling 8,000 tonnes / year. Like his father, he could see how technology could help the company offer a better service to its customers and in 1971, he automated a large part of the mill. It is under Richard’s leadership, and with his knowledge, that the company has grown through a combination of working with an excellent team of people and integrating other like minded family businesses.
The merchanting business of H W Hunt was purchased in 1982 and became fully integrated into the trading name of Massey Bros in Staffordshire. P & G Keeper Supplies joined the group in 1989 supplying Game Feeds and other requisites for sporting customers. W & A Bailey was acquired in November 1990 and enabled us to give a more complete service in North Cheshire.
In June 1992, we celebrated the sale of the 1 millionth tonne of feed since Richard joined the company and since then, we have passed the 2 million mark and are well on our way to 3 million tonnes.
In September 1992 Kynan Massey joined the company, followed 2 years later by Richard’s other son, Auldan. This means that like their grandfathers and great-great-grandfathers, Massey brothers are helping to run the business again.
In June 1999 the mill at Walton-le-Dale was acquired from Dalgety who had previously purchased it from a family owned business John A Ley. Whereas 20 years ago there were 20 mills in Preston, the site is now one of only two mills remaining in Preston and the only family owned mill. We are now able to give a complete service to customers as far North as the Scottish Borders.
On January 1st, we started the new millennium by welcoming the long established merchanting business of Jos W Long into the company. This gave us a direct sales force into West Cheshire and North Wales.
In May 2002 James Burnhill & Sons Ltd joined us. Again our trading area was extended, this time into Yorkshire, increasing both our expertise and knowledge of Game Feeds.
In 2012, we continued to grow with the merger between ourselves and Harpers Home Mix, a family run business in Devon. Tamaran Massey-Ford also joined in this year and was appointed office manager, extending the Massey family ethos through the business.
Today, we have the same attitude towards excellent service and quality, always with an eye towards the latest technology to keep us at the forefront of the industry as we did when the company was founded over 125 years ago. We are constantly looking for ways to help our customers and we were a founding member of the Feed In to Milk project. We are still a family business that understands the importance of looking after our customers.