Garage firm takes a new direction as it buys franchise

(left to right) Director Paul Doney,  Manager for Practical Car & Van Rental Bridget Horrocks, Sales Manager at Boarhunt for Practical Car & Van Rental, Jenny Spratt with Director Rob Doney   Picture: Malcolm Wells (13440-0561)
(left to right) Director Paul Doney, Manager for Practical Car & Van Rental Bridget Horrocks, Sales Manager at Boarhunt for Practical Car & Van Rental, Jenny Spratt with Director Rob Doney Picture: Malcolm Wells (13440-0561)
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A FAMILY-run firm which has become a household name has found a fresh direction for its business.

Most drivers on the south’s roads will have seen the recovery vehicles belonging to Boarhunt Garage, even if they haven’t needed to use them.

And now the firm is branching out after buying the franchise for Practical Car and Van Hire.

The change in direction came after owner Rob Doney and his team, which includes his brother, director Paul suffered health problems.

He decided to scale the business back from stretching all the way to Dorset in the west, and instead centralise it in its depots in the Airport Industrial Estate in Portsmouth and Fort Wallington, near Fareham.

It meant the staff reduced from 230 to around 100, and now some of those are working within the new franchise.

Rob, whose father Robin began the business in 1963, said: ‘We’ve drawn back from the wider south coast but we’ve made it a stronger, smaller business we think.’

The garage is known for being able to pull heavy goods vehicles out of trouble, especially whenever it snows.

It was given a special commendation by the then Chief Constable of Hampshire Alex Marshall for helping unstick drivers stuck on the A3(M) during the snowfall in 2010.

The firm has contracts to work for the RAC and other break down organisations if the job is too tricky or their vans can’t get there in time.

Rob said: ‘We go to about 100 breakdowns a day, so we’re pretty busy.

‘But the staff still need more to do which is why I’ve taken on this franchise.

‘Part of the thought behind it was that if someone breaks down in a van with a load in the back, we can give them a replacement so they can get themselves and their load to the right destination.

‘We’re also going to be offering car and van hire 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you can’t get that from any other company out there at the moment.

‘We should be launching that within the next week or so.’