NEWTON COMMERCIAL – HOW IT STARTED.
Upon his return from D.L. Wooding, Richard worked for Serck Services for four and a half years. “I was manager of the Ipswich branch, and after about three years we integrated the Colchester branch,” he explains. “We took over a customer, ARC (Amey Roadstone Concrete), who were big. One day one of their reps came in and brought a seat squab with him for us to repair. I told him we didn’t do seats and phoned the manager up. He said if we couldn’t do it they’d go somewhere else, and I didn’t want to lose the £10,000 a month the account was worth...”
Richard hunted around everywhere for someone to do the work, but ended up buying a yard of material and asking his wife Vera to help sew up a seat cover using her mother’s Singer sewing machine. “It took us about three days, but we did it,” he says. “Then the rep came in the next week and brought eight more seats. That’s really how it started. We were working on the kitchen table, which we’d clear off for dinner when the children came home, and start up again at night.”
After 18 months, Richard and Vera quit their day jobs and went for it full-time. They soon got into MGs, but it was a decision to specialise in Morris Minors that really got them going. In the late ‘80s the whole Triumph range was developed, and at the end of the decade Vera encouraged the production of Mini trim. A move to a huge purpose-built factory by the Suffolk coast followed, with Richard’s son Jonny taking over 12 years ago. Over 12,000 parts are now manufactured in house and supplied all over the world, with the range growing all the time.