There was no cooling their jets when James and Maree Candish put their wheels in motion and purchased a little known workshop tucked away on Cambridge Avenue in Ashhurst. Young, ambitious and full of enthusiasm they grabbed the keys and went to work making sure that their workshop stood out. Fresh new paintwork, a thorough clean throughout, and rebranding meant that a young James had a sparkling new workshop to get his mechanical business Village Valley Automotive started on a transformational journey towards becoming the humming mechanical pit stop that it is today. Not forgetting its past James honours the history of his workshop, displaying black and white photos in the reception area of a very retro looking Astro Auto Services owned by his predecessor Roger Herd who loyally stayed on working for James for a few years.
James had made the most of an opportunity presented to him, and had not expected that a job mowing lawns as a teenager would lead to becoming a mechanic let alone owning his own workshop. He took a job at CESCO doing forklift repairs, when the opportunity arose through his lawn-mowing job, which led to him doing an apprenticeship in heavy-automotive plant and equipment diesel mechanics. Seven years working for someone else left James feeling discontent. Shown a ‘for sale’ advertisement of Astro Auto Services, a little known workshop tucked away behind trees and some old decommissioned BP fuel pumps on the main drag in Ashhurst, James and his wife Maree took the risky first step into becoming business owners. With Maree busy studying to become a midwife, their life became like a speedway blur of activity. After a ten year investment of hard graft, and with a growing young family, James finds himself in pole position for providing mechanical services in Ashhurst and surrounding areas.
James looks back at those early days with the wise eyes of a business man with years of experience under his belt, he’s faced and overcome many challenges along the way but each challenge has brought him invaluable experience. He laughs as he recounts the handwringing experience of buying a new tyre balancing machine in his first three months of business, which seemed a significant and risky venture for his young business. Since then almost every item in the workshop has been updated and/or replaced with new equipment such as diagnostic computers and wheel alignment machines, bringing equipment and service capabilities to the modern high standards needed. This has allowed Village Valley Automotive to provide the wide range of services they deliver to clientele so that they won’t have the inconvenience of having to go farther afield. James relishes the opportunity to solve problems for his customers and says with his skills and the others in his team they can always nut out a problem in the end. Being a born and bred Ashhurst resident James appreciates the needs of his community, he’s grown into the role he’s taken on and admits that relationships with customers, staff and suppliers are most important to him. He’s uncomfortable about being referred to as ‘the boss’, asserting that his team are all important cogs in his well oiled machine.
Ten years have not passed unmeasured. James and Maree set targets for themselves that helped them steer their future in the right direction and to make sure the wheels didn’t fall off along the way. Their measured approach has facilitated the growth in their service, their workshop, and their local business. A short time spent in his reception area reveals, that in this small community, Village Valley Automotive provides a friendly and familiar service to many. From WOF’s, car services, full tyre replacement, and wheel alignments to heavy equipment and machinery, James and the team have got the Ashhurst community’s mechanical needs covered.
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