“WE SUPPLY everything - from a handful of nails or a couple of washers, to a full suite of hardware for a house.”

John Pickard is proud of the firm he describes as “Keighley's best kept secret,” which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

In its prominent spot on Airedale Road, Pickard Hardware - our T&A Trader of the Week - is the go-to firm for doors, handles, knobs, knockers, letter plates and many other homeware accessories as well as security items.

“Door furniture can really make a difference to a home,” says John the company’s managing director. “We always say that when someone comes to your house the first impression they get is when they knock at the door. Smart hardware that suits the door gives a good impression.

“We have some very elaborate door knockers - lions’ heads, foxes, elephants and more unusual ones like demon imps.”

Likewise, he says, kitchens can be given a new lease of life with the addition of new handles and knobs. “You can easily transform old cupboards and drawers.”

Trends - in particular colours - come and go. “One minute it's brass, then antique brass, then chrome. At present satin brass and copper are popular,” says John.

The successful business sells both locally and internationally and has left its mark in prestigious places.

“We supplied springs for windows at Buckingham Palace,” says John. “Forty-five per cent of our business is export, mainly to Eastern Europe, and we have a major customer in Jamaica.”

The business was initially founded by John, who worked for various hardware companies across West Yorkshire before setting up on his own in 1982 in premises on Valley Road.

The firm moved to purpose-built premises at its present location in 2001.

“Initially it was set up to supply joinery manufacturers making windows and doors,” says John. “When we opened this unit in such a prime location next to the bypass we had a trade counter for the public. Our main footfall is domestic retail - we should really call it a shop.”

He adds: “People often come and ask ‘Can anyone come in here?’ and we says ‘Yes!’ At times we have had big banners outside saying ‘Public Welcome’, to let everyone know that they can come.”

Dale Spencer joined John 35 years ago, making him its longest-serving employee. “I was 16 when I came here," he says. " I wanted to join the police but had to be 18. I wanted to earn a bit of money first so I left school and joined Pickard’s, thinking I would work there for two years, but I really enjoyed it. They are a great team - we all enjoy working together.

"I progressed in the business and did well, becoming a director and partner to John.”

He adds: “Staff tend to stay for a long time - some people have been here for more than 30 years. We all enjoy working here.”

John brings in bags of sweets and biscuits for staff every week. “And sometimes pork pies, sausage rolls or kebabs,” laughs Dale.

John Pickard’s son William is among the company's staff.

The business, which has 18 employees, is an invaluable source of expert advice. “We pride ourselves on having a good technical know-how. We know what we are talking about - that is one of our strengths," says Dale, who lives in Keighley. "Some of our staff members have been joiners and have inside technical knowledge.”

One of their specialities is sliding sash windows. “We supply the hardware for them - the components a joiner would buy, everything except the timber and glass.

They also sell security hardware, which, over the years, has become more high-tech.

Explains Dale: “Many locks are now digital - some doors can be opened using a switch on your mobile phone, and if you are out at work and need to let someone in like a builder you can send a message to their phone and they will be let in for a certain amount of time.

“We offer doorbells with cameras that work through the phone, and door handles that work off your phone.”

This is alongside more traditional door locks, bolts and padlocks. “Some door locks - the cheap, cylinder variety - take no time at all to break, and we give advice on what you should use.”

“We supply security items to domestic properties and many other settings, including hospitals and a variety of commercial buildings.”

General hardware on sale includes hooks, castors and tie-backs. “There is such a wide range,” says Dale.

The firm is not easy to miss - it has a large stone dinosaur outside painted silver. “I remember, 30-odd years ago, a big steel bison used to hang over the M1 at Sheffield, and how eye-catching it was," says Dale. "I spotted the dinosaur at a stone lintel suppliers and brought him here. He’s called Maurice.

“When the police send people down here to buy new locks they say ‘the place with the dinosaur outside'. Being a hardware store we really ought to have a big hinge outside, or something like that.”

*Pickard Hardware, Airedale Rd, Keighley BD21 4LW; pickardhardware.com