'New life' provided to family business as motor dealership expands

Matthew Huke-Jenner, managing director of Mitchells, with Chris, centre, and Mark Kerridge. Mitchells has bought Kerridges at Halesworth as its fourth site.

Matthew Huke-Jenner, managing director of Mitchells, with Chris, centre, and Mark Kerridge. Mitchells has bought Kerridges at Halesworth as its fourth site. Picture: Mitchells - Credit: Mitchells

An award-winning independent motor dealership has expanded into a fourth site after buying a long-established family business.

Lowestoft-based Mitchells - a Groupe Renault retailer - has acquired Kerridges, at Halesworth - a third-generation family-run Vauxhall specialist.

The Renault and Dacia retailer is courting new car franchises and is initially aiming to expand its used car offering at the location on London Road, Halesworth.

Matthew Huke-Jenner, Mitchells managing director and owner, believes that it also holds great potential as a franchised site.

He said: “We will be continuing the Vauxhall heritage but expanding the used car forecourt.

"We are also talking to several manufacturers about reintroducing a new car franchise.”

Mr Huke-Jenner said that he hoped to be able to reveal the identity of the Kerridges site’s new franchisee early in the new year.

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He added: “One of the key points for us was that we retain the four members of staff who have a lot of knowledge and experience.

“Kerridges is a long-standing family firm which shares similar values to Mitchells.

"We make relationships with customers and they keep coming back and also tell family and friends. Our business is built on staff and customer retention.

“We see ourselves very much as custodians of this business.”

Mitchells, based in Long Road, Lowestoft, was established before the Second World War and has sold Renault since 1974.

A second Renault and Dacia site opened in Suffolk Road, Great Yarmouth, 15 years ago and a used car operation in Mill Road, Lowestoft, two years ago.

The prominent London Road site has a workshop for servicing, maintenance and MOTs, a five-car showroom and forecourt space for 30 to 35 quality used cars.

Kerridges’ roots date back to 1918 when Chris and Mark Kerridge’s grandfather, Albert, opened a garage at Darsham, near Saxmundham.


Kerridges can trace it roots back to Albert Kerridge opening a garage at Darsham, near Saxmundham, in 1918.

Kerridges can trace it roots back to Albert Kerridge opening a garage at Darsham, near Saxmundham, in 1918. Picture: Kerridges - Credit: Kerridges

Their father, Ron, joined the business and, in 1963, opened the Halesworth site as a Vauxhall dealership.

Kerridges in London Road, Halesworth, was a Vauxhall and Opel main dealer for more than half a century.

Kerridges in London Road, Halesworth, was a Vauxhall and Opel main dealer for more than half a century. Picture: Kerridges - Credit: Kerridges

The brothers, who are retiring, felt Mitchells was a good fit with the family business.

Chris Kerridge said: “Mitchells will bring new life to the business.

"It’s a sad day for us but I know Matthew will do a very good job keeping our loyal customers happy.”

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