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Like many new family businesses it had humble beginnings, at first being run from the front parlour of Issac's mother-in-law's terraced house in Whitfield Street, Manchester where his wife Annie and her family helped to pack the goods for despatch to customers. Realising the commercial potential, on his return home and de-mob from the Army, he quickly set to work on putting into action his plan to import these baskets from Belgium for sale to retail outlets in Britain.
After the Second World War, Simon's son-in-law Ronnie Stewart joined Desser & Company, which was now housed at Lord Street, Cheetham. Sadly, Simon Desser died shortly after this move. During the 20’s the business continued to expand, necessitating a move to a larger, but still cramped, basement in Robert Street.
Sadness was again to descend on the company in April 1997 with the death of Morris Desser, and then Ronnie Stewart in 2000. The company continued to grow, importing wickerware from across Europe, from behind the Iron Curtain and eventually from the Peoples Republic of China. This meant that Morris Desser had to make buying trips away from home for long periods, to Eastern Europe, Asia and to countries that were not always hospitable or comfortable.
Desser & Company Ltd has a proud heritage stretching back over four generations of the same family. The fascinating story starts in the dark days of WWI when Issac Desser, as a young British soldier, was posted to serve on the front line in Belgium. It was here that he came into contact with Flemish craftsman who were producing various types of basketware . . . and an idea was born.
When the family moved to a new house in nearby Cheetham Hill Road, the business went with them. Issac was soon joined by his brother Simon, and in 1919, Desser & Company was formed. In 1932, Issac's son Morris joined the company – at the same as a young secretary, Miriam Marcus. Romance blossomed, and she became Mrs Miriam Desser, continuing a contribution to the company over many years.
By this time, Morris’ son Gordon had also joined the business, followed by Ronnie’s two sons Michael and Barry. Further expansion signalled another move in the early Seventies to an impressive purpose-built warehouse and showroom in Bradstone Road, Cheetham, where the company is still based. Despite the Depression of the 30’s, Issac, Simon and Morris continued to expand the business, and this necessitated a third move, this time to a warehouse in Lyon Street, still within the Cheetham Hill area.
Issac died in 1975, having continued to work almost to his 80th year. His great grandson, Gordon’s son Simon, joined Desser in 1987, forming the fourth generation of the family business. In 1997 Michael's son Mark also joined the company. Now in its 96th year, Desser is now Britain’s leading importers and distributors of cane furniture from the Far East, as well as wickerware from around the world.