Derrick Law and Ian Keem founded Keemlaw in January 1971. The business was launched with a £500 overdraft used to purchase racking and spare parts, a manual adding machine and a van costing £50. Prior to the launch Derrick had been the Gaiggia Coffee Machine Rep for London. Using his knowledge, Keemlaw was to be the Kent distributor of coffee and coffee machines.
Breaking into the catering equipment industry, the business quickly grew and expanded over the next five years supplying heavy catering equipment. Knowing what the customer wanted and taking advantage of interest rates being lower than inflation and the fact you could increase your stock without paying tax, Keemlaw had become an established business.
In 1974 Derrick’s brother, Harry Law joined the company, to launch and manage the technical operation of the business. This supported the next business decision to move into manufacturing, a decision that was highlighted by customer demand and the government’s change in policy to give a higher capital allowance on equipment rather than stock relief. Stock was promptly sold and machinery was bought.
The manufacturing side of the business proved very successful and strongly supported the heavy equipment sales. The competitive nature of the industry forced Keemlaw’s next move to launch sales of light equipment; Keemlaw had now become a one-stop shop for all commercial catering needs. In 1987 Ian Keem retired from the company.
In 2003 Keemlaw moved into the domestic catering equipment market purchasing Catering Complements and Cook & Dine.
Today Keemlaw’s head office and workshop are based in Aylesford, Kent. The multi-material workshop is unusual and by operating within a 40-mile radius, is unique within the industry, differentiating the business from its competitors. Heavy and light catering equipment sales complete their one-stop shop offering. Their reputation for quality continues to drive business success.