Smash repairer goes bust
LIQUIDATORS moved in and locked the doors of Border Automotive Group on Monday after 38 years of continuous operation.
The iconic business, once considered the Tweed's biggest smash repairer, has been a permanent fixture on Greenway Drive since 1994, when it was one of the first to move to what is now a bustling retail and industrial precinct.
Owner Bob Maxwell said yesterday he was hurting for long-serving staff who were now out of jobs.
“I had good employees who were with me for years, and that is the biggest thing that hurts me more than any- thing,” Mr Maxwell said.
“Fortunately enough, the staff seem to be getting jobs.”
A total of 28 people, 17 from the Tweed and another 11 in Scone have been made un- employed.
Mr Maxwell, who was a co-owner with his brother Jim, said finding a new job would also be his next move.
“But at 62, it will be a bit harder to find something that will suit,” he said.
“That is life; I have just got to get on with it.”
A number of factors combined to close the business, including the current economic crisis, increasing rent, and the struggle to find experienced tradespeople.
“It is a bit of everything. A downturn in business and a whole lot of other things cre- ated it,” Mr Maxwell said.
“Things are getting tight with insurance companies these days, they were cutting costs so the repairers had to cut rates.
“A lot of businesses are struggling to make ends meet, plus the rents have gone up.
“It was too expensive to stay, but too expensive to move.”
Plus, young people weren't interested in smash repairs.
“We were finding it harder to get any kids who wanted to be a tradesman,” he lamented.
“Anything to do with a trade, kids just don't want to do it anymore.”
While Mr Maxwell had been communicating with the liquidators, it was a shock when they moved in on Monday to lock the doors and inform employees they were out of work.
He said business was looking up after a bad few months, but the liquidators said there was no way to continue.
Susan Carter, a partner at Surfers Paradise-based Worrells Insolvency and Financial Accountants, said there was no way the Border Automotive Group could trade out of its debts. “The debt was so large there was no trading out, and the director did the right thing and appointed a liquidator,” Ms Carter said.
She said creditors would be paid and an offer made to employees, who had already been directed to obtain assistance from the Government.
Border Automotive group first started at Kirra 38 years ago, before moving to Greenway drive in 1994.
It was also the former NRMA roadside assistance contractor for the Tweed until earlier this year.
Mr Maxwell said the business had played a role in helping the Wintersun Festival get off the ground.