A look at local business Curt Willis Motors in Fenny Bridges
Aug 07, 2023
Living in such a diverse and rural county, with hilly and often narrow roads, makes it crucial to ensure your motor is road ready to avoid any unfortunate breakdowns.
Finding a reliable and reputable garage can be a challenge at times, so a fail-safe option is use a mechanic which focuses on providing excellent customer service and benefits from a high level of repeat custom.
Ticking these two boxes is local firm Curt Willis Motors, operating from its Fenny Bridges garage just off the old A30.
The company was founded in 2012 by Curt Willis who was born in Honiton and now lives in Ottery St Mary.
Prior to his mechanic years, Curt worked as a DJ and grew to know plenty of people in the area as a result.
He decided to swap the vinyl discs for disc brakes permanently, as the garage grew so substantially he simply didn't have the time for the extra DJ work.
Curt's story of working in the motor trade began in 1997, when he took on an apprenticeship at Harts of Honiton.
During his 13 years at this Renault dealership, he gained master-technician training and worked his way up the ranks to become workshop foreman.
Inadvertedly, Curt also started laying the foundations of his own business.
Curt said: "I used to lease out a little shed on an old farm where I took on some evening work and in the end I had 15 regular customers. It was from this, that I decided to go alone."
The spark that triggered Curt to start up his own business came when the Fenny Bridges site came up for lease.
Curt said: "I started out as a sole trader at the end of February 2012 and now there is a team of five of us.
"The business has expanded significantly since the early days. At first there were two ramps and an MOT bay in the garage and now there are five ramps and an MOT bay."
The expansion happened when the car sales business next door to the garage, owned by Rydon Motors, moved its trade to a plot near Westpoint.
The company now leases the space to Curt which has enabled him to to expand his motor repair business on the site.
Curt's business now offers a broad range of vehicle repair and maintenance services including MOTs, tyre fitting, air conditioning, clutches, servicing and much more.
All of the work is completed 'in-house' and the focus is on cars and small vans.
Curt explains a big part of the success of the business is down to its close-knit team who put a lot of effort into customer service.
He said: "We're a friendly team who used work together years ago. We're good friends and there's a lot of trust among us."
The wealth of knowledge of the motor trade between Sean, Gav, Mark and Tim is vast and Curt acknowledges they are a huge asset to the business.
The team focuses on building good relationships with the customers, offering a personal touch.
As for future plans, Curt said: "The main plan is to continue with the business as usual as there isn't any room to expand the business further on the existing site.
"The age of servicing electric vehicles will have a massive impact on the industry, especially for small garages like ours.
We will always deal with tyres, brakes and servicing but it will get to a point where an electric car with an electrical fault will have to go back to the main dealer for repair.
We always try to keep up with the latest modern vehicles but we will have to see how we get on with the electrical age."
Until then, the Fenny Bridges will continue to specialise in the servicing and maintenance of cars and small vans.