2017 marks the 35th anniversary of Classic Canes (our favourite walking stick suppler). Here is a post (written by them) all about the company, founded in the autumn of 1982 by Ben and Diana Porter.
“Our story began when Ben and Diana bought a neglected woodland in Somerset in order to rebuild the ruined hunting lodge at its centre. While they were working on the house, they discovered that the surrounding woodland was naturally producing suitable raw material for walking sticks. To begin with, they cut the sticks and sold them to Coopers, a walking stick factory in Surrey. When delivering the sticks, they saw the finished products of the factory and decided to offer them to shops in their local area.
The first customers were gift shops, craft centres and tobacconists, whom Diana would visit with her samples and two small children:Charlotte and Johnny. The business soon grew to include more stockists across the south west of England and then further afield. Ben drove many miles in the early years, finding new stockists who chose their walking sticks from the back of a van.
In the late 1980s, the company started exhibiting at trade fairs, which enabled new accounts to be opened across the UK and overseas. The range of walking sticks grew too, to include such developments as folding walking sticks and ladies’ size walking sticks.
By the millennium, Classic Canes had established itself as a leading supplier of walking sticks and was well known for the good quality of its products. Johnny Porter worked hard to establish the Classic Canes workshop, which specialises in small scale production of specialist walking sticks, mostly using the ash, hazel and blackthorn wood grown on site.
Charlotte Porter rejoined the firm in 2003 after working in the luxury goods trade. She persuaded the family to start branding the walking sticks with the Classic Canes name and developed the marketing of the company to further enhance its reputation and prestige.
Today, Classic Canes stocks over 700 models of walking sticks, seat sticks and umbrellas, selling to retailers in over 40 countries with stockists mainly mobility shops, garden centres and on-line shops.
Much has changed in 35 years, mainly the dawn of the internet. We wish the Porter family many more years of business!
Having visited Warren House in Somerset and seen the way their business is run, I am full of admiration.