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History of Cromwell

The Cromwell Company was formed in 1968 by Michael Gregory (MG) from his home on Cromwell Crescent in Market Harborough Leicestershire.

Cromwell First Shop

The Cromwell success story began whilst MG was visiting an army surplus, where he purchased seven blue cantilever toolboxes at 27 shillings and 6 pence (£1.375) each. The toolboxes were taken that night by MG to Morris Engines plant at Coventry where he worked, and then sold to work colleagues for 32 shillings and 6 pence (£1.625).

Following this success MG withdrew £50 to buy more toolboxes, and was able to create additional finances by grinding crankshafts on the night shift, sleeping for a few hours in the mornings, selling tools in the afternoon and chopping down trees at weekends. The business gradually expanded in range and scale enabling him to sell them off separately from the back of his car, prior to opening his first shop in 1970.

In early 2004 the 34 UK Branch Network was increased to 46 when the Group acquired and merged with a number of companies; Apex Industrial Supplies Ltd, C J Bent, Blee Tools, Bearbreak, A J Howard, Hallam Tools, G.T.S.S, Great North Tools, and Bogle & Timms, to form the “Industrial Supply Alliance” within our Group.

In 2015 Cromwell was acquired by WW Grainger Inc, a US based Global Distribution business. Grainger is a Fortune 500 company with more than 20,000 team members worldwide and a turnover of more than $10bn. Both Cromwell and Grainger are committed to strong and sustainable relationships with our customers and suppliers. Grainger has been recognized by Fortune Magazine as the most admired wholesale distributor in the world and Grainger is regularly listed in the top 100 employers in the world. Cromwell and Grainger have ambitious growth plans in Europe. We will look to both existing and new markets for opportunities to grow our business and we are committed to developing and setting the standard for best in class sales channels, products and innovative services in Europe.

The Companies’ success can be attributed to the dedication and ability of many caring people whose efforts formed a superb foundation for “CROMWELL” to grow strongly and securely.

Cromwell is totally committed to working closely with every customer and supplier for the benefit of all parties, and plans to continue the development of its people and products, creating the opportunities that are the foundation of our Company’s continued successful growth.



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