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The KLS Story

The KLS Story

The business is a family one, like many family businesses things are started with very little but the desire to suceed and provide for the family.

KLS was started by Ken Lawless the KL in KLS - Ken Lawless Supplies.  Ken had worked in this industry for many years in both London & Dublin and so had built up some great connections over that time.  When the company he was working for went out of business almost 30 years ago and with very few job opportunities available he took things into his own hands and began to supply Cling film, foil and other catering disposables to a handful of West End eateries in London simply to tide things over.

After a short while Ken was discovering that word of mouth was working and the amount of restaurants wanting to use his services was growing week on week. Within a few months & struggling with fitting the goods in the car the family car was swapped for a tiny little Bedford rascal van that could be seen zipping around the busy London streets going from restaurant to restaurant.


The business continued to grow and it became too much for Ken to manage on his own. I (David Lawless) was persuaded to leave my job working for EuropeCar head office at that time to be a full time van driver/sales rep and help build the family business. 

I soon realised we needed a van upgrade to something that could carry more than 10 packs of toilet rolls at a time and something all my friends didn’t cry with laughter at when they saw me driving it!

We broadened the product range we supplied and worked hard to build up the business.

Back in those early days a 6x4ft shed was our warehouse.  Full of stock to the brim & soon so we had to build another, then another.  

The overspill went into the house, the box bedroom became KLS HQ & soon Mum would have to give up her job as a bank clerk to work full time in the family business taking customer orders, invoicing and running the books.  

KLS by now was taking over the house so we invested in extending the garage and we built an Aladdin’s cave of catering products.

We slowly built up our customer base of restaurants, hotels, hostels and began to supply care homes across the south east supplying them with housekeeping & non-food kitchen supplies.

We lived in a small cul-de-sac at the time so lorries couldn’t deliver direct because of access plus we had to keep the neighbours onside.  I would drive to a local car pack at 5am and unload by hand from the lorry to our van, drive back to the house, unload, drive back, reload multiple times then once done load up and head out to do the days deliveries.

We can all look back at those times now with a grin but those were tough years and it gave us the work ethic we hold so dearly now.

In 2003 we finally took the step to move to our very own warehouse, it felt like the biggest leap of our lives and months of sleepless nights worrying about affording it would lay ahead but it turned out to be the best thing we ever did and moving out to Pitstone, near Tring opened up a whole new customer base to us.

Ken retired from the business several years ago handing the reigns over to me.  Since then we have continued to grow.  Back in 2016 we bought out our local independent competitor ‘Gravey Train Sales’ who like us were a family business based in Aylesbury.  Due to retirement they were looking to sell the business on and it opened up a new customer base to us. They mainly supplied to the Pub trade with crockery, tableware & glassware along with the usual cleaning & hygiene supplies.

In addition to that the we have seen an explosion in the ‘Street Food’ scene and so food-to-go packaging has become the fastest growing part of what we do.

Over the past few years we supply to an ever growing number of home based street food vendors and established street food companies that have pop-ups in various locations in the UK.

We at KLS all pride ourselves on service. We hope we can offer your business that extra bit of care that our huge multi-national competitors so frequently fail to offer.

So whether you are a commercial caterer, a chain of restaurants, a huge hotel, a small country pub, a village coffee shop, a street food pop-up, a hotel, hostel, care home  we want to hear from you!! Let’s help each other grow.

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