Dealer shifts into top gear as he moves to prime site
A SUCCESSFUL Penzance motor dealer is expanding his business by taking over one of the prime trading sites in west Cornwall.
Chris Nicholls, who launched Chris Nicholls Motors 15 years ago, has bought the former Ward Vauxhall premises by the Sithney turn-off at the top of the hill down into Helston on the A394.
He will be selling cars there within a few weeks.
Mr Nicholls, who will continue to be based at his Long Rock premises at the former Jet garage, says the opportunity to buy the site came "at an absolutely perfect time" to cope with the increasing demand for his cars.
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"There aren't a lot of sites with planning permission for motor trading in the area and as we are outgrowing our Long Rock space, this has come up up at a great time," he said.
"I think the people of Helston will welcome us as there was a lot of opposition to the idea of there being a dive-thru pasty shop there and it's only 15 minutes from Long Rock.
"It's a large site – two and a half acres – and at its peak, Wards was selling around 700 cars a year there so I hope we can match that."
After a few weeks' refurbishment – the site "needs a bit of love", says Mr Nicholls – a start-up workforce of four or five people is expected to start trading toward the end of February.
One of the salesmen will be Troon cricketing legend Trevor Angove.
Mr Nicholls, a family man with three children who enjoys badminton and cricket, puts his success as a motor trader over the past few years down to his emphasis on the customer.
"Our focus is first and foremost on the customer – he or she is always right," he said. "Do the right thing by the customer and he will recommend you to someone else.
"And although we trade in used cars, we try to make the purchasing experience exactly the same as it would be if you are buying a new car.
"We also have a happy staff here – I don't think anyone has left us to join another dealer."