Mike and Sue Smith open the UK sales division for Häfele UK.
The Häfele Story
1973 - Present
How it all began
1923 - 1944
1945 - 1959
1960 - 1979
1980 - 1999
2000 - present
Häfele UK is launched
Häfele UK office and distribution centre is opened at Butlers Leap (Rugby). “The Complete Häfele” launched in the UK.
New Swift Valley Site
The Swift Valley site is completed and Häfele UK move, this is where we continue to operate from today.
The first catalogue exclusively for Sliding Door Gear was published by Hafele UK.
The Technical Support team is created within Sales. The Architectural Ironmongery (AI) department is created for Sales and Support and the first “The Complete Häfele” is produced to support AI business.
ISO 14001 and FSC TradaTrak accreditations are achieved. Further highbay expansion is completed, automatic cranes and conveyor systems are installed. The warehouse expand to a 2nd site
Häfele Finding Better Ways is launched
The motivation to find better ways of living, doing business and serving our customers has been Hafele guiding principle from the beginning.
The Häfele Partner and Häfele Distributor customer brands are launched. Mike Smith retires becoming Chairman and Garry Marlow takes over as MD.
Haynes Way is purchased and Long Items / B&Q distribution moved to this location.
The new format “The Complete Häfele” catalogue is printed. “Functionality for You” is launched. The Mobile showroom is launched and tours the UK. Häfele achieve BS OHSAS 18001 Health & Safety accreditation.
The Essentials catalogue is revised and Essentials Direct is launched.
The Studio Partner network is launched
Häfele UK created a network to work in partnership with a host of premium independent Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom Studios across the UK to ensure you have knowledgeable access to our product range.
Sarah Beeny Home is launched
The Sarah Beeny Home quality collection of handles and knobs will suit all styles and add the essential finishing touches to doors, cupboards, drawers, furniture and DIY projects, in every room of your home.
New Hafele UK website is launched.
Hafele UK are please to launch the new and improved website.
The founding of Häfele falls into a time of deep reaching political and social upheaval. The Weimar Republic is just a few years old, the consequences of the First World War are still evident everywhere.
1923, when inflation reached its climax in Germany, two young men, Adolf Häfele and Hermann Funk, take their fate into their own hands: on 1st December they set up a speciality store for joinery needs called "Products for the hardware and tool industry" in Aulendorf in Württemberg.
Moving to Nagold
The young company specialised in joinery and carpentry supplies and moved to Nagold, the former centre of the furniture production in Württemberg.
From there, Adolf Häfele visited the woodworking shops and furniture manufactures in the area; he noted names and the customers’ requirements and in so doing, established the company's first regional network.
His credo still has central importance today: personal contact, industry and product knowledge, reliability and fast delivery of the required products.
Successful start-up years
Adolf Häfele established the first wholesale warehouse and organised the distribution of the goods. His innovative product assortment and excellent service put him ahead of his time, enabling him to acquire many new clients.
Häfele participates in a foreign trade fair in 1933 for the first time and presents "furniture fittings for bedrooms and kitchens" in Strasbourg.
The still young company receives the "Gold Medal" for the configuration of the exhibition stand. The export of the fittings to the neighbouring countries is also starting slowly.
By this point, Häfele employs a sizeable force of travelling salesmen who visit customers at home and in neighbouring countries.
The first furniture fittings catalogue was published in 1939 with a circulation of 20,000 copies. Distributed in Germany and abroad, it forms the foundation for international sales of Häfele products.
The symbolic cover shows a picture of a globe which became the logo of the rapidly growing business.
Adolf Häfele takes his company safely and largely unscathed through the Second World War. After the end of the war, the plight in the country is great, however, the reconstruction results in an active demand for fittings and joinery needs. Things are quickly moving forward again. In February 1946, Walther Thierer, Häfele's nephew, enters the company.
25 years of Häfele
In October 1948, Häfele celebrates its 25th anniversary. At this time, the company is well positioned: with a total of 29 employees and revenue rising to nearly two million DM.
Change in management
Company founder Adolf Häfele passed away in 1949, only four years after the end of the Second World War. Right in the middle of the reconstruction efforts in Germany, his 26 year old nephew Walter Thierer takes over the management of the company with the support of the Häfele and Thierer family shareholders.
Cornerstone of modernism
The year 1950 begins with a disaster, however one that turned out for the best: a fire destroys the company building during the night of New Year's Eve. But Walther Thierer acts quickly: first, a road sale bridges the emergency and the transactions are resumed in makeshift barracks. At the same time, the foundation for today's headquarters in Nagold is laid. The result is a new building with offices and a warehouse space totalling 2,500 square metres.
Entry into production
In April 1954, Häfele started his own production of special fittings for furniture ornaments and brass grills. Demand for the products quickly grows so much that the production area must be expanded several times.
A spirit of optimism
In the economic miracle years following World War II, Häfele first primarily serves the domestic market.
But it's only a matter of time before returning to the activities abroad. In 1964, Häfele took advantage of the spirit of optimism of the 1960s and founded the first foreign subsidiary in Switzerland.
Häfele exhibition bus
The export department is developed in Nagold and a company-owned sales organisation for France, "Häfele France GmbH & Co." is founded.
The travelling activities of the sales pioneers in Nagold become even more important and the first mobile Häfele exhibition departs on tour. In the following years, the bus also serves as an exhibition stand abroad.
The Complete Häfele
"The Complete Häfele" is published for the first time and is the largest reference tool for furniture fittings in the world.
The Complete Häfele offers more than 25,000 articles for sale, but also contains detailed drawings and installation instructions – not only a reference book, but an instructional textbooks as well.
Across the Big Pond
A large exhibition bus makes a 12,000-mile trip through the furniture centres of the USA. This is the beginning of Häfele's success story in the United States: In 1973, Häfele America Co. is founded.
These mobile exhibits have been deployed successfully in other countries and are often the first step in opening a market. By the early 70s Häfele achieved export levels of 40% and became one of the pioneers and founders of the export nation Germany.
The Complete Häfele
"The Complete Häfele" appears in English, the world's lingua franca, as well as in French as "Le Grand Häfele" and in Spanish as "El Gran Häfele".
Today this comprehensive reference tool for hardware technology is available in more than 24 languages, along with many special editions aimed at specific target groups and countries.
Start of in-house development
Häfele launches an in-house development department. The company quickly causes a sensation by producing innovative hardware and exerts a lasting influence on furniture construction with its successful solutions.
The same year, the distribution centre in Nagold is ready to begin operations, laying the foundation for Häfele's logistics services. With a high-rise storage facility in which track guided vehicles pick products off the shelves, Häfele was a quick and reliable logistics partner, even at that time.
First UK office opens
Mike and Sue Smith open the first UK Office and a distribution centre at Butlers Leap, Rugby. Subsidiaries are also opened in Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Singapore, New Zealand, Malaysia and Japan.
Today there is no continent without a Häfele subsidiary or sales office.
In 1982 Hans Nock, export manager in Nagold since the 1960s, takes over management of the company and becomes "the Engine" of Häfele’s foreign business. Growth is successful thanks to the power of the family company and its earnest efforts. The export share rises to 70 percent.
The thorough understanding of customer needs allows Häfele to become a problem solver for many challenges. One such example is Häfele's development of the Minifix connector system with the centric ball principle, which continues to be successful around the world, even today. The small Minifix revolutionises the industry and accelerates the growth of the newly created RTA furniture sector.
Häfele's own production plant Häfele Berlin now produces 500 million Minifix in 30 versions.
New UK Swift Valley Site
The Swift Valley site is completed and Häfele UK move in.
Expansion of sales offices begins in Germany. From the beginning Häfele focuses on its proximity to customers. Visiting partners on-site and individual conversations are an essential part of the company culture. Investment is made to expand sales offices in Germany starting in 1985. Shorter distances to customers, smaller sales units and personal contact is the new motto. Integrated showrooms make a visit to the sales offices particularly interesting and are very popular with customers.
The first ‘Rapid Response’ and stockist catalogue is published by Häfele UK.
UK 'The Complete Häfele'
The first “The Complete Häfele” catalogue is produced and published by Häfele UK.
Häfele Scotland regional Sales Office is opened.
Expansion of Häfele Nagold
Häfele headquarters in Nagold is also expanded. Häfele constructs a new building on an adjacent, 5,000 square metre lot at Adolf-Häfele-Straße 1.
Today, a large and modern showroom, conference rooms, offices, data centre and a test workshop are located in the award-winning building. The company's strategies are developed, and the product ranges are selected and documented at headquarters. Central IT is located here, and from here, the global sales organizations are controlled.
The Häfele UK warehouse and office extensions to the Swift Valley site are completed.
The founding wave covers the entire American continent. It is started in 1997 with a subsidiary in Mexico. Brazil follows in 1998 and Argentina in 1999.
The Catalogue Management System is installed for catalogue creation at Häfele UK.
Häfele UK Development
China and Eastern Europe
While the last "open spots" on the map of Western Europe were developed by Häfele during the late 90s and at the beginning of the new millennium, the company now puts out its feelers to Eastern Europe and China. In 2002 Häfele establishes the first subsidiary in Eastern Europe, in Poland. Turkey and China follow in 2005; Russia in 2006; Ukraine and Romania in 2009; and Kazakhstan, Serbia and the Czech Republic in 2010.
Häfele UK achieves BS OHSAS 18001 Health & Safety accreditation.
The courage to be modern
Sibylle Thierer, daughter of Walther Thierer, assumes responsibility for the company at the beginning of the new millennium and represents the third generation of family management.
She paves the way for modern times by focusing all decisions on the benefits of innovative ideas and products.
Häfele UK opens a regional sales office in Wales.
Häfele UK Development
360° Project Service
Häfele's 360° Project Service has formed the foundation of the ongoing, successful business with architects, investors and builders since 2006. It encompasses manufacturer-independent procurement of architectural hardware and project fittings, the "StarTec" product range, the Dialock electronic access control system, countless planning manuals, and international project coordination by Häfele project managers.
Häfele embraces the marketing strategy "The Innovator of Functionality" and develops new ways to lead the way. "Functionality" becomes a quality seal in itself that allows cabinet makers and joiners to brand their own perfect functional solutions. The same year, the first "Functionality World" exhibition opens in Nagold. Two years later, the first edition of "Häfele Home" magazine appears, containing innovative furniture and living ideas. The magazine inspires designers, architects, cabinet maker and joiners.
Mike Smith retires as Chairman at Häfele UK and Garry Marlow takes over as MD.
After establishing the 360° Project Service, Häfele bundles all of its sales activities aimed at the furniture industry together in the newly established, international sales organisation Häfele Engineering GmbH & Co KG. It focuses exclusively on meeting the requirements of the furniture industry – along the entire value chain.
90 years after its founding, the Häfele family business is a worldwide leader in the furniture fittings and architectural hardware industry, as well as in electronic access control systems. Häfele employs more than 6,000 employees and has 37 subsidiaries, as well as many additional dealerships throughout the world.
The Häfele Studio Partner network is launched in the UK. The new corporate Häfele brand image and guidelines are launched worldwide.
1973 - Present
How it all began
1923 - 1944
1945 - 1959
1960 - 1979
1980 - 1999
2000 - present