Ilkeston car dealership duo clock up 100 years combined service

Paul Stephenson, Kevin Slack, Robert Straw of Ron Brooks in Ilkeston.
Paul Stephenson, Kevin Slack, Robert Straw of Ron Brooks in Ilkeston.

Two long-serving members of staff at Ilkeston car dealership Ron Brooks are celebrating an incredible 50 years with the company.

Paul Stephenson, and Robert ‘Bob’ Straw, are heading into retirement having given a combined 100 years of loyal service to the long-standing Derby Road business.

Paul, who started on maternity cover as office manager in July 1966 and became a director in 1968, said his time there had seen great change but that the firm’s values had remained the same.

He said: “When I joined there were only seven members of staff and we were selling Simca cars. After more than 40 years of being with Toyota and now Suzuki, we have grown to almost 100 staff working out of three state-of-the-art dealerships.

“I put that down to the way Ron Brooks treats customers – selling a car is great, but it’s the aftersales that ensures people come back year after year and we are now selling to third and fourth generations of our original customers.

“It’s what the business was built on and it’s still true now. We’ve been very successful and we’ve worked very hard, but we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Robert, who started as a 15-year-old apprentice and has been workshop controller for over 15 years, said: “The business is always changing and that’s why it’s remained interesting.

“We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, but we’ve always come through it by pulling together and working for each other.

“The foundations that the company was built on remain true to this day. If somebody has an issue or a problem we ask ourselves ‘would I be happy with that?’ and if the answer is no then we fix it.”