Busi­ness runs like fa­ther like son


FOR some fa­thers it would be no easy feat to loosen the reins and hand over the fam­ily busi­ness to their son, but for Peter Bell­grove it was easy.

Mr Bell­grove has worked for Ainsworth Mo­tors and Ma­chin­ery in Chin­chilla for more than 40 years but it wasn’t un­til two years ago, when his son Gerard and daugh­ter-in-law Chris­tine bought in, Ainsworth be­came a true fam­ily busi­ness.

“We play bowls to­gether, we work to­gether and if he didn’t come into the busi­ness, I wouldn’t be here. No doubt at all. I’m at re­tir­ing age, so if Gerard hadn’t have come back I would’ve sold,” Mr Bell­grove said.

Mr Bell­grove said it was im­por­tant to him he’d been able to hand over the busi­ness to his son and had not been forced to sell to a large cor­po­rate group.

“It’s hard to re­main in the in­dus­try with all the large cor­po­rates... for small busi­ness to sur­vive it’s very hard.”

His hope to keep the busi­ness in­de­pen­dent and firmly in the hands of his fam­ily is a sen­ti­ment shared by Gerard.

“I think the in­dus­try lends it­self to big­ger things, big­ger man­u­fac­tur­ers want to deal with less peo­ple. I think there is a huge ad­van­tage to be­ing an owner-op­er­a­tor. We can make de­ci­sions on the fly a lot quicker without hav­ing to look to cor­po­rate or out­side ap­proval. The de­ci­sion mak­ers for our busi­ness sit in our busi­ness,” Gerard said.

“I like to think we’ll al­ways be a small busi­ness – it’s a chal­lenge for our busi­ness but I don’t want to sell to cor­po­rate.”

Mr Bell­grove joined Ainsworth Mo­tors as a young ac­coun­tant be­fore buy­ing the busi­ness from founder Fred Ainsworth seven years ago.

Gerard also stud­ied ac­count­ing at uni­ver­sity but while the fa­ther and son duo share a tal­ent for num­bers they say they bring dif­fer­ent traits to the day-to-day

It’s great to see fam­ily busi­nesses in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, it’s what keeps com­mu­ni­ties go­ing – fam­i­lies that are in­vested in the town.

— Gerard Bell­grove

run­ning of the busi­ness.

“Dad and I are cer­tainly dif­fer­ent, I am IT based and he’s more old school,” Gerard said.

“I em­brace the dig­i­tal world a lot more than he does but he’s re­ally a calm­ing in­flu­ence whereas I am more of a bull at a gate, let’s get it done kind of thing, so those traits cer­tainly com­ple­ment each other.

“It’s chal­leng­ing, we had a tran­si­tion when I worked in the busi­ness in ac­count­ing and then went away and came back to a more man­age­rial role and then we had a power change. I’m sort of run­ning the busi­ness and Dad is no longer so heav­ily in­volved. It’s a dy­namic change and it took us a lit­tle while to go through that change.”

Ainsworth spe­cialises in the sale of GM Holden, new, used and demo ve­hi­cles, ma­chin­ery, parts and ser­vic­ing and is the lo­cal RACQ ser­vice provider.

Gerard said there was a dis­tinct ad­van­tage to own­ing a fam­ily busi­ness, not only from a per­sonal and pro­fes­sional per­spec­tive but be­ing able to serve clients and the wider com­mu­nity.

“We’re the only lo­cally owned mo­tor and ma­chin­ery dealer in town now. The other guys are all cor­po­rate so we’re the only sur­viv­ing fam­ily owned dealer,” he said.

“There’s an im­plicit trust within a fam­ily busi­ness, but we never switch off; at home and at fam­ily func­tions we’re al­ways talk­ing work.

“It’s great to see fam­ily busi­nesses in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, it’s what keeps them go­ing – fam­i­lies that are in­vested in the town.

“I am known to my mar­ket and my clients. Peo­ple want to deal with you be­cause they know you’re here in the town and you’re not go­ing any­where.”


FAM­ILY AF­FAIR: Peter Bell­grove along with Chris­tine and Gerard Bell­grove runs Ainsworth Mo­tors and Ma­chin­ery in Chin­chilla.

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