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The companies I have founded:

My dad owned Walsall Photofinishers, a small black & white photofinishing company - a photo lab.  We processed the films for Boots and other chemists (drug stores), and photo shops.  I started at an early age, and could do any of the jobs in the photo lab - working in the darkroom, making prints, driving a daily delivery route.  We were later bought by Napcolour Ltd.  I worked for them for a short while, in Chester.  I also went to photographic college at Wednesbury tech, but left after a year.  I had too many new business ideas to become a photographer.

  • Granville Kirkup Wholesale.  I sold film to the chemists (drug stores) in the area.  Then Kodak asked me to add inexpensive Kodak cameras.  I also made a nice brochure to sell Polaroid cameras and film to architects and estate agents (realtors) - both big Polaroid users at the time.  For some reason my biggest customer for Polaroid was police departments!  When my dad's photo lab was bought by Napcolour, they recruited me to run their wholesale service.  But they expected me to do it for free!  I was about 19 at the time.


  • Granville Kirkup Photographic Equipment Hire.   I made some nice-looking brochures, but never did much business.


  • Granville Kirkup Ltd, The Camera Repairers.   After a visit to Kodak in Rochester, I developed a system of fixed-price camera repairs, with a published price list.  This proved popular with camera stores, and we became a substantial camera repair company with 40 employees and three locations - Walsall, Bristol and Manchester.  I designed a computerized service shop management system.  We were a contractor for Dixons, a chain of camera stores.  When we lost the Dixons contract I sold the Bristol office to my manager there, and closed the other two.  America was calling!


  • GK Microsystems, Inc.  Aurora, Colorado.  In this one-man company I developed the computer program, ServiceManager for the Commodore personal computer.  I later teamed up with Denver Software Company to develop it for the Apple III.


  • Telmar Distributing Company.  Irvine, California.  Started as a supplier of re-use telecommunications equipment, the company now known as Telmar Network Technology has manufacturing and distribution arms, international offices, and annual sales of over $185 million.


  • Apics Inc. Irvine, California.  This company was Telmar's equipment brokerage arm for a few years.


  • Grumps.  A used bookstore in a warehouse.  I bought the contents of three closing bookstores and accumulated 70,000 books, before deciding to sell it.


  • Newport Blues Inc.  My restaurant company.  I bought Studio Cafe (Newport Beach) and intended to add other restaurants with a musical theme - 'Newport Blues' to be one of them.  But running a restaurant is not as much fun as you might think, so I sold it after three years.  


    Go to Telmar page    Go to Studio Cafe page


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This site was last updated 07/31/08