Kensells History Tamworth
It was common in those days for produce stores to supplement their income selling vehicles – so it should come as no surprise they also became franchisees of the International Harvester Company. A.R Kensell went into a brief partnership in 1926 with Maunder Pty Ltd, which was dissolved in September 1927 – the Kensell name returning to sole trader status.
At that time annual turnover was just less than 4000 pounds, supporting a modest staff of 4 – a far cry from today’s staff of 56. In 1930 the firm established trade at a new site on Peel Street. In 1938 Kensells demolished the building which prexisted his purchase eight years prior to make way for the new. By this time A.R Kensell had grown to nine employees. In 1946, adjoining property in Kable Ave was purchased and in 1948 a service station built. In the same year the firm began trading as Kensells (Tamworth) Pty Ltd.
That old service station is now the site of Kensells service department opposite West Diggers. During the late 1940’s the property on the corner of Barnes and Denison Streets was bought and a building erected for storage and assembly of farm machinery.
That building is now home of their Spare Parts division. Kensells watershed moment came in 1957, when the family business was appointed General Motors Holden dealers. They also relinquished the International Harvestor franchise. Property was then bought at 233 Peel St and converted into a new and used car lot. More property was bought in 1982 on the corner of Kable Ave and Bourke St – which still serves as the home for their showroom and offices.
In 1984 Kensell Sales Pty Ltd was formed, when they became the sales and service centre for Isuzu trucks in the North West. In 1986 the company was of just a few car and truck retailers and GMH wholesale parts operators in Australia. In 1993 Kensells gained the SAAB franchise, in 1995 the Mitsubishi franchise and in 1997 they were appointed as one of the original Kia Dealers in Australia.
Kensell Holden is not just a Tamworth business icon – It’s a family institution. Kensells has been built on 4 generations and the loyalty of their staff during the last 88 years. When Roy Kensell established his produce store in 1923, he could not have foreseen how successful the family business would become.
In 1941, Roy introduced his young son Eric to the game. Soon after Eric enlisted in the RAAF and served his country until the end of the war in 1945, when he took the reins as General Manager. He held this position until 1971, when Roy passed on. Eric then filled his father’s shoes as managing director. In the same year the baton was passed to Eric’s eldest son Ian, who started his tenure as an accountant. He progressed quickly, moving to sales manager in 1976 and then to general manager in 1982, when Eric started to take an interest in other business activities.
In 1995 Ian became dealer principal, while Eric retained the directorship. Ian’s eldest son Scott officially joined the family business in 1996 and progressed quickly to Sales Manager, then to general manager in 2007 and Dealer Principal in 2009 – a position he still holds today. Ian’s second eldest son Tim also works in the dealership as Mitsubishi Sales Manager.
The sense of family hasn’t been limited to blood either. Many staff have felt part of the Kensell clan over the years and have been just as loyal and dedicated – people like Allan Chandler who started as an apprentice in 1968, racking up over 40 years of service. The dealership can also be proud to have employed two apprentices each year. It’s all evidence that Kensell Holden is committed to the motor industry and Tamworth.