The closure of one of the industry’s longest-serving equipment suppliers was brought about by a combination of cheaper kit, strong competition from rival firms and a family tragedy, according to the co-founder of the firm.

West Acton-based ProKit, established in 1989 by the husbandand- wife team of Mark and Sue Holmes, employed nine people and sold camera, lighting and sound equipment.

Having suffered a significant reduction in turnover in 2016, and subsequently failing to find a buyer for the business, Mark Holmes appointed administrators, with Matthew Waghorn and Lawrence King of Wilkins Kennedy LLP taking control on 12 December 2016.

Having run out of money, the company was closed and the unencumbered stock and various assets sold to fellow broadcast equipment dealer Visual Impact.

Discussing ProKit’s demise, Mark Holmes told Broadcast that the introduction of cheaper professional camera and lighting kit had increased sales volumes but reduced overall turnover and profit margins.

Similarly, the company had been unable to compete with the consumerorientated e-commerce approach adopted by its rivals.

He said: “I hold my hands up. We suffered from strong competition. Hats off to them for developing strategies that nobody thought would work in our industry.”

Sadly, the financial problems at ProKit were further exacerbated by ill health in the Holmes family, with Sue being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Holmes said: “She was my wife for 39 years, my business partner for 28 years, mother of our sons and my best friend. She was fighting cancer while we were still running a company, and we did it with considerable enthusiasm, but nevertheless every decision we made, every investment, was always underpinned by cancer.

“Although we thought we were making the right decisions, eventually, the last year or so showed that we weren’t.”

Sue Holmes passed away on 9 December 2016.

“In the end,” said Holmes, “I think the business had a part of her cancer as well.”