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Cumbrian garage owner selling up due to supermarket competition

A garage owner is selling up after nearly 30 years after struggling to compete with supermarket petrol prices.

Len Green photo
Len Green and Donna Stephenson are leaving Station Road Garage in Wigton

Len Green, 78, of Station Road, Wigton, has run Len and Donna’s Station Road Garage for 29 years after buying it from his nephew.

Now he has decided it is the right time to sell the business and retire.

“I have decided to retire after talking to a local man in the shop who said he would be interested [in buying],” Len said.

“I was thinking of selling up anyhow as the fuel game is ridiculous. You can’t make any money from fuel now so I thought it was time to finish. Stations like these are closing all over the country.

“I was having to put prices up so high it meant a drop in the number of customers. Small garages are of no interest to the bigger suppliers.”

Independent fuel retailers are struggling to match the prices of the larger supermarkets who are currently embroiled in a price war. Earlier this month, it was announced four supermarkets were to cut up to 2p per litre off fuel.

Len, a familiar face in the town, plans to wind down in his retirement.

“I am going to enjoy myself, if you can when you are 78,” he said. “I hope to be doing the house up a bit and do some gardening.”

The longevity of the business has been due to a loyal customer base, according to Len. He thanked everyone who had him and his garage over the years.

Originally from Swindon in Wiltshire, he joined the Royal Navy in 1952. He moved to Anthorn near Wigton and met his wife Jess a year later.

After finishing his service he became a lorry driver. When he was made redundant, he became a window cleaner. Len also worked at the Innovia factory in Wigton and ran a washing machine shop near to garage.

The site is now proposed to be used for second-hand car sales.

Have your say

I remember many such independents as I recall watching from rear real leather comfy seats the whirling petrol gauge on old 1950's fuel pumps. The price of petrol in a shilling and few pence for a gallon as my father got his BRG Jaguar saloon car filled up by a petrol attendant. I thought such levels of service had discontinued long ago but when travelling in Italy stopping at a gas station the attendant asked if we wanted our screen washed. The decades of new tv (b&w) adverts convinced nationals better as they followed with slogans put a Esso's tiger in your tank...keep going well with Shell. Besides others.

Enjoy your retirement. I cycled to Wigton when 11yrs old from Carlisle when my parent was manager of a local shop (Pioneer. Now, Harrisons) with Jim the local driver who drove the old route master Cumberland bus daily there and back, there... for twenty-two years.

Posted by Royl on 24 May 2013 at 09:43

Len ... Good luck Lad -
Most small independent businesses will all be living history museums soon as the corporate giants crush them - one by one - something to tell the grandchildren as we pocket our club points

Posted by 3> Alan on 21 May 2013 at 12:12

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