IN FOCUS: Business has ‘grown up’ with town

Brad, Ken and Scott Morton. (Marco De Luca)

Ewen Mcrae

Ken Morton and Melton Timber have been a mainstay of the town for decades, with last year marking 50 years since Ken first started trading.

What began as a small cabinet-making business in 1969, Melton Home Timber and Hardware is now a success story that has grown with the township, with Ken and his sons bringing up their milestone in style.

“I originally started in the garage of my parents’ house, that’s where all this started,” Ken said.

“The neighbours started to complain about the noise, so I had to find somewhere to go.

“The council said if I was going to do this sort of work it had to be in an industrial area, which there wasn’t one in Melton back then … So when I bought this place it was the start of this industrial precinct.”

While the early years of the business had Ken largely making cabinets, the demand for timber in the fast-growing region enabled him to expand his business, soon growing to the large site he occupies today.

“I got asked too many times about timber, so it made sense to expand,” he said. “There was a hardware shop in the main street, they were our neighbours so we didn’t want to upset them too much, but they soon retired so it was just us.

“The town has changed a lot, and we’ve grown with it. It’s been a great town for us, and while we’ve had some tough times, like all businesses, the town has always been there for us.”

Ken and Bob Kirby (42 years service) ran much of the business themselves for years, with sons Brad and Scott also coming on board when they got older.

“I don’t think that was ever the plan, but it’s been nice how it’s worked out,” Ken said. “All of our kids had the chance to go to uni and I don’t think they ever thought they’d be doing this, but the boys – Scott and Brad – have now been working here for 23 and 27 years respectively, which has been beneficial.”

As Melton grew, Ken was often at the forefront, serving on several committees and always willing to assist in many different parts of the town.

“We’ve always been community-minded. I sat on the first Melton Business Association committee, which lasted for a long time and did some really good things.

“I was chairman of the building committee for Mowbray College, so we took a lot of pride in that school and seeing it grow. Those things really helped bring people into Melton, which meant more jobs in the town, which was the real name of the game.”

While Ken is less hands-on these days, he takes great pride in seeing the next generation continue the legacy he’s built over the past five decades.

“We’ve now got grandsons, who are 16 and 13, who say that they’ll run it eventually, so we’ll wait and see, but it could stay in the family for a long time yet.”

Melton Home Timber & Hardware, 45 Reserve Road, Melton. Opens 7am-5.30pm Monday-Friday and 8am-4pm Saturdays. Inquiries: 9743 5033