CLBC Member Celebrates 40th Anniversary and Olympic Success

Impact Socket Supplies, based at Phoenix Works off Friday Street, Chorley, are celebrating 40 years in business this year. The niche business firm, which provides the sockets used with industrial tools in both light and heavy engineering applications, is the UK’s number one manufacturer and distributor of impact sockets and accessories.

Established in 1972 as a one-man operation, the business expanded when Ron Barker became MD in 1990. With a background in overseas sales, he began exporting to countries such as Ireland and Belgium and transformed a small company with regional clients into an internationally recognised name with blue chip customers all over the world.

Ron was in sole control of the business when he retired from hands-on operation in 2006 – although he remains close at hand to advise the company from time to time. His daughter, Alison, who has been with ISS since 2001, is now co-director together with Steve Topping, who joined as sales manager in 2002.

‘We’d like to thank all the customers who have contributed to our success,’ says Alison Barker. ‘We now employ 15 staff and we’ve grown the business on a continual basis over the last four decades. We have a large manufacturing base, using sophisticated machinery that enables the company to respond to specific requirements. The result is a product that’s designed and produced to perfectly match customers’ needs.’

The company has survived and prospered due to its responsiveness, according to Steve Topping. ‘We have 99% of stock availability for next day delivery,’ he says, ‘and this is a major factor these days. Carrying a large product range, and being able to get it out to customers when they want it, that’s the key.’

Three years ago was a major milestone for ISS when the company re-located from its original site off Deighton Road to spacious, modern premises at Phoenix Works. ‘We’re a Chorley company so there was no question of moving out of the area,’ said Alison. ‘While our customers might be based all over the world, the majority of our suppliers, and of course our workforce, are based here in Chorley.’

So what is the Olympic connection? Over the years, ISS has played a role, albeit small, in several projects of national importance, from maintaining Big Ben to raising the hull of Tudor flagship, the Marie Rose. For London this summer, ISS supplied male torx drivers for the temporary arena seating at Horse Guards Parade, the iconic location for the Olympic beach volleyball.

Alison laughs: ‘It might not sound a big deal, but every aspect to a job like that is very important, and having the right tools for the job is, as we all know, critical to its success.’

It’s a focussed philosophy that should see ISS celebrate its 50th anniversary and beyond.

ISS can be contacted on 01257 277205 or email Visit the website at

Central Lancashire Business Club

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