One of the Black Country’s oldest garages is looking forward to a bright new beginning after a significant sum was invested in automotive equipment and a partnership was formed with the First Stop network.
Gornal Tyres, based on Burton Road, has been serving motorists in Sedgley, Dudley and the surrounding area for more than 60 years and owner Shaun Carr is transforming it into a ‘centre of excellence’ for fast-fit with the latest technology - including laser wheel alignment machinery – now installed.
Shaun, who acquired the site in June 2020, has teamed-up with First Stop to take the centre to ‘the next level’, with the strength of a national chain deemed as essential in helping him reach his goals.
Together with wife Lyn, the Carr family have expanded their automotive portfolio after founding Fleetline Tyre Services in Oldbury in 2007.
Shaun said: “Everyone in the area knows Gornal Tyres. It has to be one of the oldest and most recognisable garages in the community. We saw great potential in the site and have a vision for Gornal Tyres to be the best automotive centre in the region.”
Since taking over, the Gornal Tyres workforce has doubled from two to four to complete a new-look team.
First Stop is one of the most progressive automotive networks and is aiming grow to 220 centres nationwide by 2024. Ambitious, independent businesses are partnering with First Stop, with Gornal Tyres being the latest to sign up.
New First Stop signage has already been erected as part of a refurbishment and Shaun believes that the good times are ready to roll again for the historic old site.
“First Stop has one of the most attractive franchise packages in the aftermarket and we’re benefitting in lots of ways, including more efficient back-office systems, equipment, branding and marketing support.”
With First Stop operating as the retail arm of Bridgestone, Shaun also said that better access and availability of Bridgestone and Firestone tyres was also a compelling factor when agreeing to partner up.
The end result is a better forecourt experience for motorists and a new lease of life for a garage that is already so well known in the community.
He added: “We can’t praise First Stop highly enough. They have gone above and beyond to support us throughout the process and it is reassuring to have the added support of a national network, backed by so much expertise.
“We want to compete with all the national retail chains and give motorists a reason to keep coming back to us. Things have been tough for us during lockdown, as you’d imagine. Every penny that we make at the site is being reinvested back until we reach our goals and with First Stop on board, we think that this will be sooner rather than later.”
First Stop UK Retail Network Manager Mark Widdows said: “We’re thrilled to have Gornal Tyres on board, which is a garage depot synonymous with the local community.
“We are always looking to work with forward thinking, progressive partners and Shaun Carr and his team couldn’t be better suited. He has vast experience in automotive retail, having built Fleetline Tyre Services into a success story of its own and his passion to transform Gornal Tyres matches ours.
“We couldn’t ask for a more suitable partner and we look forward to creating more memorable automotive experiences for motorists in the area.”