3rd January 2014
Today, 3rd. January 2014, Prokit celebrates 25 Years of serving Cinematographers, Photographers, and the Broadcast & Video Production communities. We thank you all from the bottom of our heart for allowing us the privilege, and for supporting us for so long. Many of you know company owners Sue and Mark Holmes personally - some have been on the same journey for the same length of time; some have found us more recently. Thanks every one of you.
We first opened our door in Hungerford*, Berkshire on 3rd. January 1989. Our company name was Holmes Photographic Ltd. At that time our role was to market and distribute products via professional photographic dealers throughout the UK. Lee Filters was a key brand for us then as Mark had worked for the company - Lee Filters was founded by Mark's father, David Holmes. Other marques were added to the portfolio, the most significant of which was Lowel Lighting. Lowel is now, as it was then, a leading manufacturer of portable lighting for all moving image as well as still image disciplines. It is still distributed by us today, with considerable pride. Our photographic product portfolio grew with brands like Domke, but our film/video range grew faster with companies like Miller and Century Optics. A move to Newbury facilitated further growth.
Responding to a growing demand for hands-on equipment evaluation, we opened a showroom in Chiswick for broadcast cameramen in October 1996. Called The Production Kit Company Ltd., it was the first showroom of its kind in the UK, and is now the biggest.
The digital sensor revolution in photography, as well as internet based changes to product distribution models, prompted us to merge the two businesses in 2001. Prokit Europe Ltd was born.
Everything you now experience at Prokit has grown from that point. We are still responsible for importing, marketing and distributing the products made by some very special companies: Lowel, Chimera, Wally Dolly, Cinekinetic, Kobold, and Ikan are amongst them. We have become leading resellers for many well known names such as Dedo, Sennheiser, Arri, Litepanels, Rycote, Petrol Bags, GoPro and so on - far too many to mention. With some considerable pride we have become accredited partners for Sony and Canon professional cameras and lenses. In 2014 we shall be working hard to generate interest in new exclusively distributed brands: AadynTech production LED lights, Schneider-Kreuznach Cine-Xenar III Primes, BB&S Area 48 softlight (remote phosphor LED) and the punchy location LED lights from Nila.
We won't pretend that everything has been rosy on our 25 year journey. Some things didn't work out, but never stopped us trying. A wiser man than me said "I've learnt so much from my mistakes that I'm planning to make some more".
We believe we have a great team of people to serve you. The ones on the end of the phone or email are in the showroom, with their passion and knowledge, and are eager to serve. Our unsung hero is undoubtedly Helena Beard, our Finance Director. For 24 of those 25 years Helena has always given 101% to the company, with utter dedication, diligence, integrity, and flair.
© Mark Holmes
* After school and in the holidays a charming little Miss Catherine Middleton and her sister used to visit their mother's business, Party Pieces, next door to ours!