Eight decades reaches end
IT'S the end of an era for one of Stanthorpe's most enduring businesses, with Central Motors to shut its doors on August 31.
The loss of the Holden franchise in January was the death blow for the iconic business.
"When we lost the Holden franchise, it was a big shock to us because we were a good-performing dealer for them,” owner Rob Reeves said.
"We knew our business would suffer because we've got a large client base here built predominantly on new car people so we had to try and get a replacement.”
With the way the industry has changed, Rob said that proved too big a hurdle.
"We looked at other car franchises. (They) aren't interested in setting up in Stanthorpe because they might have one 40 minutes down the road in Warwick and Stanthorpe's only a small market.
"No car franchise could justify setting up here. We then ultimately came to a decision that, without a new car franchise, our business going forward, we couldn't see it being viable.
"Without it we can see our customer base is slowly going to drift away. It's something we had to think about for a long time because it was a difficult decision to come to.
"It's obviously a business we're proud of which has been in the community for a long time. It means a lot to us, means a lot to our staff and our staff mean a lot to us.”
Rob's father Peter has been in the business for more than 60 years. He took control of it from his father, Bob Reeves, and passed it on to Rob.
"My father, Peter, and his brother, Michael, took over in 1973 and I came in with my father in 2006,” Rob said.
Peter has seen plenty shake-ups in the industry in the course of his working life and concedes theirs isn't the first or last country dealer- ship that will experience this crushing blow.
"The car industry, like most things, has changed in a big way.”
He said between Warwick and Armidale there was only two car franchises that remained.
"I'm focused on this business taking its course to the end of the month. We've still got cars to sell and from there we've got plenty of tidying up to do,” Rob said.
"We've got a lot of long- standing loyal customers that have supported Central Motors. They've enjoyed doing business here and we've enjoyed doing business with them.
"I'll take a deep breath then and decide what I'm going to do next,” he said.