Martin's Monthly Mutterings

Martin’s Mutterings

March 2016. I want to stand still.  Five years ago I wanted to stand still.  Probably if you’d have asked me 25 years ago I would have said I was happy the way things were and I’d be happy to stand still.

The trouble is we can’t.  Life is ever changing and has a habit of throwing the odd curve ball into the way that we can’t plan or expect.  Some things are out of our control: other nations conflicts, global economies, natural disasters - right down to other people, accidents and even plain bad luck at the other end of the scale.

There are of course things we can change.  There are our own influences and planning, there are things that are in our control.  Life is good and sometimes it’s us that make it good.

We hear phrases such as: ‘life is what you make it’, ‘positive mental attitude’, ‘glass half full’ etc - I could go on but you can see where these have come from, you can see what the people that first said them were driving at.

Even though I’ve wanted to stand still at the West Caravan Centre, in the last 26 years there have been many changes.  Many of you, our customers, have witnessed these changes as you’ve been with us on the journey all that time.  We are very proud of our achievements – from the awards we have won, that we produce the best special editions in the country, to us being the busiest dealership nationwide per area…all good stuff, but we can’t stand still.  There have been many changes and we plan to make more to protect the Caravan Centre and all of us associated with its future.

This year, current plans are for a new state of the art workshop, a covered preparation bay and a dedicated under cover handover area – all plans right now but something we can follow over the next 12 months.  Over the winter our recruitment drive has added a few extra members to the team to help shape this future and make these changes. 

A few introductions so you know who these new members are:

Josh Morris – Apprentice Technician

Josh joined us last autumn and has impressed all that work with him.  Our intention is for Josh to be one of the first new breed of ‘super technician’ and currently he is not only learning his craft from us but also at Nottingham University where he is currently studying a 2 year caravan and motorhome technician course.  We hope Josh is going to be with us for a long time.

Graham Cullingford – Workshop Technician

Formerly at Tates Caravans in Horsham, Graham joins us fully qualified and with over 25 years experience in the caravan and motorhome industry.  He is also a really nice guy and fits in with the current Sussex team really well.  He already has turned into a huge asset for us, plus we got a rather unexpected bonus…!

Verity Cullingford

Verity came to see us when Graham applied for the Workshop Technician position.  I think she wanted to make sure he was making the right decision!  As it turned out, we all liked her so much we offered her a job too!  Verity has worked in the camping and leisure industry for 5 years.  She has a wonderful personality and a real eye for detail plus she fits in perfectly with the Sussex team.  Currently she is performing a sort of ‘multi’ role at the caravan centre.

Phil Reed – Shop Manager

Phil joins us with over 30 years experience managing a camping, caravan and motorhome accessory shop.  I think in the past the shop has just evolved without a dedicated shop person and he wants to change that.  Phil’s comment at his interview was that ‘we didn’t have shop, we had a spares department’.  He was right and he got the job.  Let’s see what changes he brings!

n.b. Nobody leaves Sussex Caravan Centre and in case you’re wondering, Hannah is still at our West branch 2 days a week.  The other 3 she is on sales duty at our East branch.  For our East customers please make her welcome, we know you’re going to like her!

Mike Sturgess – Caravan and Motorhome Sales

Now I know you’re thinking, hang on - Mike’s not new, he has been with us for about a year.  Well the truth is, Mike has been associated with us for a long time and in fact he was a lad cleaning on Saturdays.  We only considered to have Mike ‘on loan’ for a 6 month period in 2015 but a change in personal circumstances (plus he loves the caravan centre!) means Mike will be with us permanently.

Mike and Josh join the ever growing younger members of the team that 5 years ago we didn’t have, so with Andrew, Hannah, Ian, Jack and Owen we have a new generation to safeguard the caravan centre’s profile.  A bit of planning there from us don’t you think!

So plenty going on, for us all to witness.  Some of you also may have noticed a step back from me in the sales department but with all the new plans, I’m having to focus on lots of other areas within the organisation.  It seems once again I’m not standing still – I want to but I can’t.  However once we are all up and running my intention is to do the bit I enjoy the most and that’s talking to our customers.  So in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger…”I’ll be back!”

Coming next month: Changes at SCC East.

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