Founder of W & D Strings, Robin Ford, started playing squash around 1975 after his family Company, Watkins & Doncaster, moved to premises in Hawkhurst, Kent. At the time, a supplier in the racquet sports industry made a simple drop weight stringing machine and using one of these, Robin started stringing racquets in 1984. Racquets then were still mainly wooden and graphite frames were only just about to be introduced.
In 1985, the opportunity arose to purchase a sports Company and W & D Strings was founded. Although the racquet sports trade was totally different from the original Company of Watkins & Doncaster [which manufactures and supplies equipment for studying insects], the Company fitted in well with the existing infrastructure that was already in place. It is interesting that on a database of thousands, there were only two Customers who strung racquets, as well as studied entomology!
The majority of the trade was supplying sports shops who offered a restringing service and the Company ran regular stringing courses for shop staff. The courses used to run over a few days, so that the novice stringers reached a competent level.
In the 1980s, stringing machines were very limited to a simple drop weight types, the USA Ektelon crank type machine and the big Oliver stringing machine from Australia which included a foot pedal. The Oliver was the fastest machine to string wooden frames.
The sad decline of many sports shops and consequent lack of interest in offering a racquet restringing business coincided with the patent running out on the Ektelon. This opened up the market for manufacturers in the Far East to produce a whole range of less expensive stringing machines. Business opportunities now opened up for home stringers to offer a restringing service without a large capital outlay, taking up the slack left by the shops.
The range of machines has moved on significantly, ranging from very sophisticated electronic machines, to neat and compact crank machines for badminton that are now widely available.
W & D STRINGS TODAY
W & D Strings continues to be a major supplier to those in the racquet sports trade for Customers based in the United Kingdom and beyond. From home and commercial stringers to sports shops and resellers, our team is on hand to serve each and every Customer by providing premier service with exceptionally quick delivery times.
In 2015, the Company relocated to larger premises in Emsworth, Hampshire. W & D Strings presently offer over 2500 products throughout the category lines of tennis, squash, badminton, racquetball, table tennis and stringing machines.
The extensive worldwide portfolio of suppliers mean that W & D Strings Customers know they're getting the best prices and exclusive offers on a huge range of racquet sports products.
Throughout recent months, the focus has been on helping Customers save time and money, which is why we've invested heavily in building an online interface that allows secure management of accounts without intervention. It's the empowering, 24/7 self-service approach that ensures we keep our Customers satisfied, and our prices competitive.