The owner of a much-loved Clitheroe business is retiring after helping local motorists for almost two decades.
Julie Watson has been at the helm of Automotion on Highfield Road since she bought the business back in 2002 ably assisted by her manager Graham McGlynn since 2004.
Previously called Moor Lane Motor Spares, she took over that existing business, which had been there for 26 years, and remained at the Moor Lane premises until 2007.
However, a lack of parking and the need for more space, prompted Julie to look for other premises and the former car showroom on Highfield Road proved ideal.
Improving the building by installing a mezzanine floor, the new premises also benefited from dedicated parking meaning that they could offer a better and more comprehensive service.
“The lack of parking on Moor Lane was hard work – nobody could park to get things fitted.
“At the new premises we’ve been able to offer almost a one-stop shop with the free fitting of windscreen wipers, light bulbs, batteries, roof boxes and cycle carriers etc.”
Mum-of-three and grandmother-of-four Julie, who lives in Clitheroe and who will turn 60 in January, is a member of Clitheroe Chamber of Trade and Commerce and is the secretary of the Federation of Small Businesses. She is also a director on the board of A1 Motorstores.
“It’s a male dominated industry in the main and I’m the only woman on the board at A1 Motorstores,” said Julie, who was a PA before setting up her own business and is rightly proud of her achievements.
“My reasons for retiring now though are firstly the competition we are facing from online retailers which is just impossible to compete with. I’ve also had staffing issues and Graham and I are at retirement age in 2019, so the time is right.”
As soon as they advertised the business for sale/rent, it was ironically snapped up by an online business which wants to use it for storage and, subject to contract, they will move in during March 2019.
“I’m very sad to be retiring and closing the business but I’ve found that despite all the new property being built in the area, footfall in the town has actually decreased.
“We’ve always offered great customer service but if people aren’t actually walking through our doors what can we do? I would just like to thank all our loyal customers.
"We’re closing on January 25th so we’d like to invite people to come down and grab a bargain. Everything must go and we’d like to say our goodbyes to all those people who have shopped with us over the years.”