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Turning back the AFAC clock

It’s been 34 years since Lee Mullins established a fledgling business in his spare bedroom. Now AFAC is about to celebrate its 35th anniversary. So what was life like in those dim and distant days at the start of the 80s? We’re turning back the clock to when there was just one man, a borrowed Triumph Herald (or 2) parked on the drive and a four-year-old more interested in his imminent first day at school than what than what would become an enduring family business…

On the home front

Something mysterious was happening in the spare bedroom. The door was usually shut but when four-year-old Ryan sneaked a peek, all he could see were stacks and stacks of small cardboard boxes…

For his father Lee, starting up AFAC from home was the realisation of a dream—he used his experience in the captive fasteners market to establish an off-the-shelf supply for small engineering businesses. But of course, with a young family to support, it was not a venture without risk. Happily though, the business took off and as young Ryan discovered the delights of play school, Lee was able to move the business out of the spare room and into new premises in Letchworth Garden City.

Making the news

While the establishment of a small business in Hertfordshire might not have hit the headlines, 1980 was a year with plenty going on. Vintage actor Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States, while here in the UK Margaret Thatcher went head-to-head with striking steel workers. Taking a humorous view of politics, Yes, Minister had its first airing, while Imagine topped the charts in response to John Lennon’s murder in December. The first Ford Escort Mk3 hit the roads, MG production ended, a UFO was sighted near RAF Woodbridge and, during the Conservative Party Conference, Margaret Thatcher famously declared, “The lady’s not for turning!”

What were you doing in 1980?