Business picks up for Gloucester's Valley Motors during COVID

The staff at Gloucester's Valley Motors are like a family. Photo Anne Keen
The staff at Gloucester's Valley Motors are like a family. Photo Anne Keen

Gloucester business owner, Rodney Summerville didn't know what the future would hold when COVID-19 hit. It turns out he had nothing to worry about.

"The first couple of days were real quiet," the Valley Motors owner said.

"(Then) It went the other way for us. We got really busy," the Valley Motors owner said.

It was a very tense time for the small business whose employees are like family. "Nearly everyone's been here for just under or just over 10 years," Rodney said.

"I didn't sleep for days. I thought we were going to stop."

Fortunately, that's not what happened.

Almost as soon as the midday lockdown was imposed on pubs and restrictions put in place for food outlets, Valley Motors started running hot.

"March, April, May and June have been the best since I bought the business in 2009," he admitted.

With people no longer able to travel outside of the region to shop, they started to look for what they needed in town.

People who had never been in the shop before, found themselves wandering in.

Being part of a franchise, catalogues were still coming out and Rodney found people were looking to purchase.

It was spread across his business from the automotive retail shop to the auto repair shop.

Rodney reckons it might have something to do with the fact that people are struggling to get new cars, with imports not coming in. Or maybe people were just getting to the repairs they have been meaning to do and finally had time for.

"Whether people saw it as a chance to get things done?" Rodney wondered.

Either way, he is very relieved at the ways things panned out. It means he was able to keep his staff employed.

"I realise how lucky I was to not be one of the business forced to close," he said.

Like all other businesses, Rodney was given a set of rules to followed to be COVID-safe, but he's found that much of the requirements were already part of their best practice, like delivering ordered parts and offering pick up and drop off when cars are being serviced.

Up until now, the business has been able to get access to stock to keep up with the demand.

When they introduced a click and collect service in April, there was even a bit of uptake from people outside the region. They've sent items to Sydney for people who couldn't find stock in their local stores.

With the resurgence of COVID and tightening of restrictions in the cities where the warehouse are located, stock is starting to get a bit harder to come by and things are taking longer to arrive.