Garage with 25-year history which was due to close is saved by new owners
- Credit: Archant
A garage which had been serving its community for 25 years to the day before it was forced to close its doors for good amid the pandemic has been saved.
SWM Motors, in Brandon, is now back in operation under a new name and new owners after its original owner, Stephen Martin, was forced to put his business into voluntary administration as it struggled to survive the pandemic.
Now named C&D Motors Servicing, the business has been taken on by David Bunn and Chris Pinkney, also joint owners of C&D windscreens, who say they hope to provide the same high-quality service for its estimated client base of around 5,000.
Mr Bunn, from Thetford, said: “We have been coming here for years replacing SWM motor windscreens and we have a good relationship with Stephen.
“The opportunity came about because, on a personal level, he spoke with us and said this is what is happening and that he didn’t want to let his customers down.
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“We knew it had a lot of potential and it was just a great challenge and opportunity to try something new and expand.
“It would have been a shame to see the garage stop trading for good and Steve’s customers thought so too.”
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Despite losing his business, Mr Martin is still working hard at the garage and showing its new owners the ropes.
When SWM Motors collapsed, eight of its employees were made redundant but Mr Bunn and Mr Pinkney have taken on its former mechanic, Adam Sharples, who had been working there for 18 years and they hope to re-employ others who lost their jobs as work starts to pick up.
Mr Martin said: “We would still be here if it wasn’t for the pandemic.
“In eight weeks, there was only enough work for one mechanic for about a day and a half so we had to make a difficult decision.
“And it was 25 years to the day, from when I started on May 15, 1995, to when we went into administration.
“I had five people call me asking to take on the garage and I thought David and Chris were the best for the job.
“I have been up and down about it but it has been alright and easier than what I thought.
“I thought it would be quite hard to be here and see a name change but I’m happy to take a step back.
“But I didn’t just want to walk away. I wanted to make sure they do it correctly for the people who walk through the door and give them the best start.”