25th March 2019
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Harsh conditions convince Stronachs to sell up

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It has been a mainstay of car body repairs for over 40 years but now Stronachs has brought its long-running venture to an end.

Harsh trading conditions and new legislation which required major investment were behind the decision to close the family-run operation four decades after founder Gordon Stronach acquired the business.

The modern building at Gremista has been taken over by Ocean Kinetics.

The five full-time and two part-time members of staff who worked at the garage have all found alternative work, including an apprentice who has been given a new apprenticeship elsewhere.

Gordon’s son, Allan, who has operated the garage in recent years, said the time had come for a change. But he was thankful to customers, staff and “friends” who had supported the business since the 1970s.

“Over the last few years the trading conditions in the autobody industry have got harder and harder, with things like insurance company contracts and new legislation being introduced the whole time,” he told The Shetland Times.

“The only way to keep up with that is to financially invest the whole time, and being a small business it’s just near-impossible.

“An opportunity arose when Ocean Kinetics was going up across the road. After a long, hard think, it was decided to sell up to them. I had taken it as far as I could. But thanks must go to all our customers and friends over the year.”

The business has moved on considerably since Gordon Stronach first started working with the late Jack Williamson at Garthspool in the 1960s.

He took over the business in 1972 following Mr Williamson’s retirement and carried on working at the same premises for another 10 years.

Then in 1982 came a move to the larger Boyd and Shearers premises across the road at Garthspool, where they traded until moving to Gremista in 2005.

John Henderson, of Ocean Kinetics, declined to talk specifically about how the Stronachs building would be used, insisting there was nothing “set out in stone yet”.

But he said it would help the company implement its medium to long-term plans.


About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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