Skip to main content

@theinformernz


From holiday home owners to business owners

By Jack Biddle

Ron and Bronwyn Tops are the new owners at Peninsula Cars & Commercials, having taken over the business in late November, and it is clear to see their focus is on maintaining the high standards set by the outgoing owners, Chris Ward and his long term partner, Fiona Kettlewell.

“Chris and Fiona have handed over a business which has maintained a fantastic customer retention and loyalty rate over their nine years of ownership. It is part of the business that both Bronwyn and I are also very much centred around as well but we know we can’t take anything for granted, and we will be working very hard to ensure customers receive the same high levels of satisfaction set by Chris and Fiona,” says Ron.

 

Selling the business was a big call for Chris and Fiona. “Chris has had his head under the bonnet of a diverse range of motor vehicles in Whitianga for over 26 years and in that time we have both made many friends, especially through the business and have also contributed to the community in Commercials a host of different ways,” says Fiona. “A little over three years ago, Chris had a major health scare which thankfully has been treated successfully, but the whole experience made us think about our future and the need to lower the stress levels a little. Chris loves his cars and has a few projects on the go, such as our 65 Mustang Shelby Replica which needs to be finished. Selling the business will allow him to tinker away at his leisure which will definitely make for a much more relaxed life style for us both. In the short term we will both be available to help out Ron and Bronwyn in the business to ensure a smooth transition.”

For Ron and Bronwyn, originally from Hamilton, the timing to purchase the business couldn’t have been better. “We have owned a holiday home in Whitianga for around seven years, made many new friends, plus our two daughters are making their own way in life now and we always said that if the right business opportunity came along, we would happily relocate to Whitianga permanently,” says Bronwyn.

 

Ron has over 25 years’ experience in the motor industry. His working life started out as a farm hand which eventually led to his managing a small farm in Morrinsville. In time, he moved to Hamilton and started work in a service station doing basic forecourt duties which included tyres and basic vehicle maintenance. That experience fuelled a passion for the automotive industry which led to a move in a business carrying out general repairs and servicing, earning his warrant of fitness ticket and then becoming a qualified technician after completing an adult apprenticeship. His all-round ability to repair motor vehicles, manage people and communicate well with customers, saw Ron move on to a busy AA Auto Centre in Te Rapa, Hamilton and he was then promoted into a managerial role spending around 14 years as branch manager. “The business attracted a huge range of makes and models of varying ages, which also highlighted the financial barriers many customers faced. It taught me that good customer communication is vital to ensure good outcomes for both owners and the business. Customer retention was always a high priority for me as a business manager and still is as a business owner today. The repair and service side of the auto industry is on the brink of some huge changes with the influx of hybrid and fully electric vehicles on our roads and I’m definitely up for that challenge as is the rest of the team.”

Bronwyn is not afraid of the front line either, and sees herself as a people person and loves the interaction with customers. She has held down some very high pressure roles in her time, including being a Certification and Compliance Manager for Datacom, Australasia’s largest home-grown tech company. “The timing to purchase the business is perfect. We love the community spirit in Whitianga. Ron can continue with his love of classic cars along with fishing and diving. The business has a strong and loyal customer base, and we both get the chance to combine our skill sets to take on all the challenges that lie ahead.”

 

Under the new ownership, Peninsular Cars & Commercials will also continue its service and sales relationship with the Brian Tunnicliffe Motor Group, who are the official franchise holders for Nissan, SsangYong and LDV vehicles with branches in Paeroa, Morrinsville and Waihi.

 |  The Informer  | 

By Jack Biddle

Ron and Bronwyn Tops are the new owners at Peninsula Cars & Commercials, having taken over the business in late November, and it is clear to see their focus is on maintaining the high standards set by the outgoing owners, Chris Ward and his long term partner, Fiona Kettlewell.

“Chris and Fiona have handed over a business which has maintained a fantastic customer retention and loyalty rate over their nine years of ownership. It is part of the business that both Bronwyn and I are also very much centred around as well but we know we can’t take anything for granted, and we will be working very hard to ensure customers receive the same high levels of satisfaction set by Chris and Fiona,” says Ron.

 

Selling the business was a big call for Chris and Fiona. “Chris has had his head under the bonnet of a diverse range of motor vehicles in Whitianga for over 26 years and in that time we have both made many friends, especially through the business and have also contributed to the community in Commercials a host of different ways,” says Fiona. “A little over three years ago, Chris had a major health scare which thankfully has been treated successfully, but the whole experience made us think about our future and the need to lower the stress levels a little. Chris loves his cars and has a few projects on the go, such as our 65 Mustang Shelby Replica which needs to be finished. Selling the business will allow him to tinker away at his leisure which will definitely make for a much more relaxed life style for us both. In the short term we will both be available to help out Ron and Bronwyn in the business to ensure a smooth transition.”

For Ron and Bronwyn, originally from Hamilton, the timing to purchase the business couldn’t have been better. “We have owned a holiday home in Whitianga for around seven years, made many new friends, plus our two daughters are making their own way in life now and we always said that if the right business opportunity came along, we would happily relocate to Whitianga permanently,” says Bronwyn.

 

Ron has over 25 years’ experience in the motor industry. His working life started out as a farm hand which eventually led to his managing a small farm in Morrinsville. In time, he moved to Hamilton and started work in a service station doing basic forecourt duties which included tyres and basic vehicle maintenance. That experience fuelled a passion for the automotive industry which led to a move in a business carrying out general repairs and servicing, earning his warrant of fitness ticket and then becoming a qualified technician after completing an adult apprenticeship. His all-round ability to repair motor vehicles, manage people and communicate well with customers, saw Ron move on to a busy AA Auto Centre in Te Rapa, Hamilton and he was then promoted into a managerial role spending around 14 years as branch manager. “The business attracted a huge range of makes and models of varying ages, which also highlighted the financial barriers many customers faced. It taught me that good customer communication is vital to ensure good outcomes for both owners and the business. Customer retention was always a high priority for me as a business manager and still is as a business owner today. The repair and service side of the auto industry is on the brink of some huge changes with the influx of hybrid and fully electric vehicles on our roads and I’m definitely up for that challenge as is the rest of the team.”

Bronwyn is not afraid of the front line either, and sees herself as a people person and loves the interaction with customers. She has held down some very high pressure roles in her time, including being a Certification and Compliance Manager for Datacom, Australasia’s largest home-grown tech company. “The timing to purchase the business is perfect. We love the community spirit in Whitianga. Ron can continue with his love of classic cars along with fishing and diving. The business has a strong and loyal customer base, and we both get the chance to combine our skill sets to take on all the challenges that lie ahead.”

 

Under the new ownership, Peninsular Cars & Commercials will also continue its service and sales relationship with the Brian Tunnicliffe Motor Group, who are the official franchise holders for Nissan, SsangYong and LDV vehicles with branches in Paeroa, Morrinsville and Waihi.