It's owl good as garage owner makes big move

It's owl good as garage owner makes big move

Williams Garage Winchester | First Stop

He’s overcome a devastating garage fire, a global pandemic and two major rebuilds of his business and after a 45-year rollercoaster ride in Winchester, Peter Whieldon has now revealed the secret to his success…

…A little owl in his office!

The 65-year-old owner of Williams Garage has spread his wings to become a member of the national First Stop network, with a bird of prey in his office as he signed on the dotted line!

During the ups and downs of owning one of Winchester’s oldest garages dating back to the 1940s, Peter has leant on some feathered friends for support, in the form of 50 owls who live adjacent to the Otterbourne business – one of which regularly lives next to his desk.

A fire ripped through the business in 2015 and despite many people telling him not to build Williams Garage back up, a passion for the community and his customers saw him upgrade facilities, featuring training rooms for some of the biggest motoring groups in the UK.

And now, he has joined First Stop in order to benefit from additional business leads, sales campaign support, marketing assistance, training and greater access to the Bridgestone and Firestone tyre portfolios.

But he said it was his feathered friends opposite his Main Road garage which were his most valuable assets.

He said: “I have had a love for birds of prey all of my life and I keep them near to me, as they give me a lot of happiness. They act as therapy for me, so when work is difficult, I can pop out of my office to see them and clear my head.

“One little owl currently lives in the office with me which is probably quite unusual for most business owners, but I have always been one to do things my own way!”

By joining First Stop, Peter is hoping to increase tyre sales and push that side of the business, which he believes will be possible thanks to the unprecedented access he now has to the premium Bridgestone range via the network.

He added: “I really like the First Stop concept and was attracted to become a member because they allow me to retain my own identity and offer round-the-clock support. Business is going well and we’re looking forward to offering more tyre options.

“It’s fair to say I’ve come a long way, as I started life as a man in a van. My father had a temporary workshop and we worked from there. He was with me every step of the way, right up until when the global pandemic hit and he took a step back. He’s 93 years old and still going strong, and he approved of the decision to join First Stop as it will provide me with more support.”

First Stop’s  RBC, Charlie Harraway, said: “Peter is a legend and a much-loved character in Winchester. We have never come across a garage with an owl before and can only say that we swooped at the opportunity to work with Peter!

“We share the same values and have the same passion to offer a brilliant automotive service to motorists. Williams Garage is a core part of the community and we look forward to assisting Peter and the team in the future, to drive the business forward.”


For more information about Williams Garage, visit

Williams Garage Winchester | First Stop