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Family Business Top 100 Recognition For Matthew Barker

We are delighted to announce that Matthew Barker of Barker Group has been included within the inaugural Family Business United ‘Family Business Top 100,’ which recognises the exceptional contribution of individuals and their work within a family business.

Recognition in respect of:

  • Inspirational Leadership

  • Multi-Generational Family Business Leader

  • Entrepreneurship

  • Champion of Change & Innovation

Barker have a heritage that spans decades with the Barker family having been involved in dry cleaning for three generations. Ken Barker started up in the 1940s and it’s fair to say that without him, the industry would be very different today. Ken started work for an acquaintance in the business called Walter Knight.

Over the years Ken and Walter built up the ‘Collins Cleaners’ business until in 1947 Ken decided to buy the company outright. He continued to grow the business and by 1958 Collins Cleaners had over forty shops and three factories. In 1959 Ken became president of the National Federation of Dyers and Cleaners. In 1960 Ken sold the business and became Deputy Chairman of Quality Cleaners of Worcester. He was responsible for the merger of this company with Sketchley’s making it the biggest dry cleaning company in the country. At that time more than half Sketchley’s branches had been set up by Ken Barker.

Ken’s son Anthony followed in his father’s footsteps and, with three friends, opened Harlequin Cleaners and later Commodore Cleaners. In 1972 Anthony took on three shops: Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch, founding Anthony A. Barker Ltd.

Anthony and his wife Valerie decided the future of the business lay in the provision of high quality domestic laundry services, both to the public and dry cleaners themselves. The business thrived and Anthony’s son, Matthew entered the business. Matthew’s tenacity, vision and hard work over the past fifteen years, has been the driving force behind the growth of the barker brand, which has gone from strength to strength. In 2000 Matthew bought the company from his father, re-branding to become Barker Group.

Today, it’s simply barker – a company providing a consistently high quality service with an unrivalled reputation for excellence. As for Matthew Barker, he is still dedicated to building and improving on the skills and traditions passed down through the family. His vision is to make barker’s a byword in quality laundry throughout the world.

"Matthew is a visionary and entrepreneurial leader and continues to drive the business forward each and every day. His leadership and approach to business stands him apart and he is thoroughly deserving of his place in the Family Business Top 100."


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