Daymans DIY is an independent, family-run hardware & DIY store that has been trading at the heart of Leicester for nearly 100 years and this is Our Story.
The shop came from humble beginnings, when in 1928 a 24-year old William Edward Dayman opened the shop’s doors for the first time on King Richards Road, just a few doors down from the shop’s current location.
William’s main focus was furniture, specialising in French Polishing and furniture restoration, but also offering a timber cutting service as well as selling DIY supplies and materials. And so, W. E. Dayman & Sons was born.
The shop's first few years of trading went well; William’s business was thriving and sustained him and his young family. Around this time William’s son Ron, aged 14, was ready to start earning his keep and he joined his Dad working for the family business.
1939 - 1945
World War II had come to Britain. William was too old to go to war but Ron was not. He enlisted in The Royal Navy and packed his bags seeking adventure, not knowing if he would return. William stayed home and ran the shop, and although times were hard, and resources were limited, the shop survived by supporting and being supported by the Leicester community. This is when the store began to change course, coming closer to the Daymans we now know, focusing more on hardware, tools and DIY supplies.
World War II was over and Ron returned home to Leicester, bringing with him his new fiancée, Irene, whom he had met through one of his comrades whilst away at war. They were soon to be married and had plans to start their own family, continuing the Dayman name.
1953 - 1955
The post-war years were a challenging time for all in Britain but as the country got back onto its feet, the shop thrived. It was a very happy time for William at the helm as the shop continued to grow, supported by sons Ron and Terry. Resources were limited and back then it was the time of fix, repair and make do. At this time Ron and Terry's young families were growing too.
Ron's family had by this stage grown and he had six children to follow in his footsteps. As soon as the children were old enough they started working at the shop in their free time to earn some pocket money. Ron’s son, Richard, joined the business with Ron, Terry & grandfather William. Richard's starting wage was £5 a week.
This year saw Ron's daughter Sue join the family business, taking charge of the organisation and stock control in the shop. William, set in his ways from the harder times would often say "Make sure you pick up that nail, its worth 6d (2 1/2 pence today)". Sue's husband Martin also joined the family, whom alongside Richard carried out bespoke joinery and property repair.
William was now over 65 and ready to retire, handing over the business for Ron and Terry to run.
In June the council handed out a compulsory purchase order for the grounds on which the shop stood, although luckily the business didn't have to move far and was able to relocate just up the road, to where it has stood ever since at103-105 King Richards Road. They shut on the Saturday and the family had the weekend to move everything over which would have been a huge task!
Picture 1 - (Daymans Store with a young Richard carrying out lengths of wood)
Picture 2 - Sue and Terry pictured moving the store to the new premises.
Between these years the business was doing well, the family had grown and they wanted to expand the business as well. Terry was an accomplished gardener, specialising in growing champion dahlias and encouraged the family to start DAYGAR and buy DERRY's Nurseries. DAYGAR was a gardening outlet based a couple doors up from the shop
sadly the business never really took off so closed after a couple of years. DERRY's Nurseries is based in Cossington and still going strong today. Alan, (Ron's Son) and Colin, (Terry's son) were sent to work at DERRY's as there were too many staff at the shop. Alan still runs DERRY's to this day. The logo displaying 3 D's above the shop represents the three family businesses at the time.
Sadly, Terry passed away suddenly at an early age, which is when Ron’s son and current owner, Steve, was brought in as cover on a short-term basis from DERRY's. Now we had Ron running the store alongside sons Steve and Richard. Steve was told this would be a temporary measure but little did he know how long he would be at the shop!
Ron, retired on the 6th March aged 65, but he never really did! Just as he retired Richard had to have major heart surgery so Ron was back full time. When Richard was back he carried on working in the shop two days a week so Richard and Steve could have a day off. During the other days he worked at DERRY's with Alan. He was also joined by his wife Irene who worked there. It turned out that the “short-term fix” of having Steve in the shop was becoming more permanent than originally intended!
Ron Featured in the Leicester Mercury on his retirement. Here is a copy of the original article.
The business celebrated 70 years of trading. When decorating the shop, a friend of the family came up with slogan "Don't Do-It-Yourself; Do-It-with-Dayman's!" which is still used today. The shop had seen a lot of change over the years but its original principles have stayed the same. It also still had its single button till which chimed when opened, and the family still displayed their products on the front of the store as they had done since 1928.
Picture from a 70 year anniversary article with a younger Steve with hair (pictured left) and Richard (pictured right).
2000 - 2008
Sadly Ron passed away on NYE of the Millennium so Steve and Richard were left on their own to run the store. The business struggled in these early years with many people looking to bigger stores and leaving the traditional local businesses. In 2008, Richard was ready to retire but Steve still had fire in his belly to continue running the family business. He had said to Ron that he intended to see out Daymans' centenary and was determined to reach this goal. Steve took over as sole business owner on 31st July 2008. The business had a freshen up and the brand colours changed from navy and cream, to the black and orange you will now be familiar with. This was the kickstart the business needed to continue to grow and improve. At this time the fourth generation of Daymans - Steve’s children, Adam and Olivia, and Richard’s sons, Scott and Marcus, joined Steve working in the shop during their childhoods and throughout their studies.
In 2018, the family decided to take the business to the next level, making the decision to go limited and to change the name from W. E. Dayman & Sons to Daymans DIY Ltd.
The year 2020 saw the world face challenges like never before. Covid-19 was to plague the world, leaving the future uncertain for many. Facing such uncertain times, the Daymans family turned to the family spirit and culture of pulling together and working hard with the local community in order to weather any storm. With the support of such a wonderful community, Daymans DIY was able to not only survive through the uncertain times, but to actually thrive. With such big changes across the world, Steve knew it was time for the business to adapt in order to better serve its customers. Steve would continue to support the community through the store with the help of an amazing team, whilst his children and fourth generation, Adam and Olivia would take on a greater role in the business, assisting the store from afar by expanding Daymans DIY into the online world with this new online store.
Rainbow from Abigail age 10. Sent in to brighten up our shop window through Covid-19.
We have weathered some tough years throughout our history. Although much may have changed over the years, we at Daymans DIY have held strong onto our original ethos, conceived by William himself, to provide a personal service to each one of our customers. This has become a cornerstone of our business as we know that if we provide a fantastic service, our customers keep coming back. We pride ourselves on our longstanding reputation of helpful and friendly staff who are always on hand to offer their expertise.
So join our family business, support Leicester's oldest DIY store and help us reach our target of 100 years of Daymans!
We are excited for you to join us as we grow our new online store and community!
We are in the early stages and thus don't have our full expansive range of products available online; but keep checking back as we are adding new products every day.
If you can't find what you're looking for let us know and we will get it in for you, carrying on William’s original vision of providing a personal customer service.
Thank you for reading our story, we look forward to the future and hope you will be a part of that.
Dayman's Family and Team