One of Cramlington’s oldest and most popular family garages is entering into an exciting new era with national automotive network First Stop, after £20,000 was invested on a radical makeover, staff training and a new online booking site.

Cramlington Tyres & Repairs is almost unrecognisable since an external and internal refurbishment took place, just one-year shy of its 40th anniversary in the town.

The garage, run by brothers Colin and Paul Battensby, is more than just a business after they took the helm following the death of their father Stan in 1986.

Dozens of customers have already commented on the striking new exterior, which represented way more than a lick of paint and new branding, as Colin explained.

“I remember when Dad first opened the place and he made his first sign from a piece of plywood and a paintbrush. He put a lot of love and effort into that little sign and hung it with pride above the forecourt.

“If he could see the place now, he’d be so proud and I don’t mind admitting that I wish he was here to see it.”

National network First Stop approached Colin to become a partner as part of its plan to open 220 centres by 2024. As well as an eye-catching new look and feel – which has positioned Cramlington Tyres & Repairs as flag bearers for other garages across the UK to follow – an e-shop online platform to allow for online bookings of MOTs, services and tyres has also been implemented.

The business will also benefit from round-the-clock access to Bridgestone and Firestone tyre portfolios and industry leading staff training, marketing support and Google Business profile management.

Colin, aged 62, said that so much had changed in the automotive industry since starting in January 1986, but the philosophy and core values of the garage would never change.

“So much has changed, but one thing that has stayed the same since Dad was here is the way we treat our customers. We try to make them feel valued and run through the best solutions for their vehicles, in line with the budgets they have in mind.

“We pride ourselves on making them feel welcome, never hiding any costs and being prompt and efficient with them from the moment they arrive on the forecourt.”

First Stop’s Retail Business Consultant Nick Salt said it was a huge positive to welcome the Cramlington Tyres & Repairs team to the network.

Nick said: “We are constantly on the lookout for garages that are synonymous with the local communities in which they serve, which are valued for providing an indispensable service.

“As someone who is local to the area, I have known of Cramlington Tyres & Repairs for many years and Colin and Paul were the first people I contacted. They’re good people who share our values, so we’re naturally thrilled to have them on board as we feel we’re a perfect fit for each other.”

Colin added that business was booming for the garage, having negotiated the challenges of the global pandemic and various lockdown measures.

“It was tough for a time, as it was for most of us, but we’re really busy again,” he added. “It might be down to motorists not opting to buy new cars and maintaining the ones they have, or just the fact that they know we’re always there for them. Either way, it’s an exciting time for us and the beginning of a new chapter with First Stop.”