Harborough entrepreneur steps back from the cut-and-thrust business frontline – after a staggering 61 years
Paul Hall went into weaving as soon as he left school at the age of 15 way back in 1960
A brilliant Harborough entrepreneur is finally set to take a step back from the cut-and-thrust business frontline – after a staggering 61 years.
Ingenious pioneer Paul Hall, 76, plunged into weaving as soon as he left school at the age of 15 way back in 1960.
And the man who’s become a genuine legend in the close-knit world of broadloom weaving has blazed a ground-breaking trail in the highly-competitive industry for more than six decades.
“I am moving back out of the frontline at last after over 60 non-stop years at the sharp end.
“I’m 76 now after all and I had a terrible stroke two years ago that could have killed me,” said Paul, of Church Langton, near Market Harborough.
“It’s a miracle I’m still here.
“But I’m not retiring altogether by any means.
“We’ll still be making our ever-popular dog leads in the colours of your sporting heroes.
“And we’re already sold out of our amazing cone ropes for roads and motorways until the end of 2022!
“So I won’t be putting my feet up for a while yet.
“The thing is this – I can’t imagine life without work.
“So I’ll be slowing down to an extent and not toiling all day every day,” said the veteran innovator and born salesman.
“But I’ll probably end up beavering away in the business that I know inside out and love to bits until my last day on earth.”
Paul, who declares he's the only broadloom weaver and traditional ropemaker in the Midlands, is closing down his Genesis Reflective Products factory on Harborough Road, Kibworth Harcourt, at Christmas.
“I’ve run the operation here for 35 years and we’ve created and produced a whole range of innovative and best-selling products over the years.
“But it’s time to close Genesis now and move on,” said Paul, who’s also had a busy stall at the indoor market in Market Harborough every Saturday for the last six years.
“The two girls who work there with me will be running the manufacturing side of the firm next year.
“I’ll be looking after the sales.
“We’re on the look out for a small unit locally so that we can carry on making our ropes and dog leads.
“I’ll still be keeping my hand in but my wife Carol and I are looking forward to a few more holidays in the sun as well.
“We’ve just got back from Ibiza and we’re off to Gran Canaria in February all being well – and we can’t wait.”
Paul kickstarted his epic working life as a 15-year-old boy weaver at a mill in Colne in his native Lancashire.
He immediately took to it like a duck to water and won the gold medal award on his City and Guilds course at Burnley Municipal Technical College.
“I was headhunted by the massive American agricultural corporation Monsanto and headed down here to help head up their textile development sector in Leicester when I was in my early 20s.
“I was in charge of their technical services.
“I got married to my first wife when I was just 22 and we went on to have three children,” said deeply-devout Paul, who’s also a lay preacher.
“The trouble was that I was working all hours and was never at home.
“My passport had stamps in it for 27 trips in just 12 months all over Europe as I flew all over educating my colleagues about how to use our new breakthrough bulk continuous filament nylon.
“I left to set up my Genesis operation here in Kibworth back in 1986 and I’ve never looked back.
“I’m a born inventor and entrepreneur.
“I’ve just kept bouncing back and fighting back from all sorts of setbacks and challenges in both my personal and professional life,” said the evergreen powerhouse pensioner.
“That’s what you’ve got to do in life.
“We’ve created and made everything here from special retro reflective Covid masks to life-saving highly-reflective scarves for children, it’s been brilliant.”
Asked if looking back on his stunning 60-year career he’d change anything, Paul replied in a heartbeat: “Not a thing.
“I’d do it all again!
“I’ve had a unique time of it doing what I love and working with some incredible people – and I’d go down the self same road again.
“Frank Sinatra’s famous track My Way tells my life story in a song.
“It’s my favourite karaoke song – and it sums up me and the fantastic life I’ve lived absolutely beautifully.”