Mill Kitchens was started by our father, Joseph Nunn, in 1976. From small beginnings the company slowly grew, and in 1987 Paul joined Dad, after completing his apprenticeship as a cabinet maker.
Our first business premises had been in a converted cow shed at the now Blake End Craft Centre, between Braintree and Dunmow. We quickly outgrew the space there and needed to find somewhere bigger. With nothing suitable near Braintree, our home town, the decision was made to look ‘over the border’ into Suffolk. The Mill in Gaol Lane became available, along with the opportunity to have a small showroom adjoining our workshop. This arrangement worked well, with customers visiting the showroom, being able to see their kitchens actually being made.
Sudbury’s country market town attitude suited our own work ethos. The people are friendly, and our ability to make the kitchen cabinets in our workshop, especially lends itself to the quaint little wonky cottages with their beams and wainscots, that typify this area. Our slogan – ‘Tailor Made at Factory Prices’ comes from this. We didn’t see why customers should pay ‘through the nose’ to have a nice new kitchen, just because their house had beams or wonky walls!
We were in The Mill in Gaol Lane for 9 years, until the owner wanted to develop the property, and so we were on the move again. We couldn’t find another place in the town with room for a showroom and workshop, so we opened the shop in East Street to be our showroom, and moved the workshop to Bull Lane Industrial Estate, just up the road in Acton. The situation of our showroom, although larger and within walking distance of the town centre, was a mixed blessing as there was no adjacent parking for customers. Once Dad retired in 2004, it became increasingly time consuming travelling back and forth between premises, so Paul cleverly incorporated the showroom into the front of the workshop, and I gained an office upstairs.
Having been happy here in the beautiful Suffolk countryside ever since. We recently had the opportunity to move again, this time just across the road into brand new premises. We resisted at first. Moving business premises is as stressful as moving house, except there is more rubbish to get rid of. However, it made sense to move to a larger, better insulated building, so here we are.
We did a little research about the history of Acton, and discovered that the name Acton means ‘settlement by the oaks’, and that in 1086 the Domesday Book records two mills in the village. We do feel that in our very small way, our oak tree emblem and Mill Kitchens name, continues a very long tradition in Acton village.