WHEN Nigel Marshall was made redundant from his job earlier this year, he was determined to get back on the horse as soon as possible.
Having worked as a manager at Ellis Autoparts in Larne for three-and-a-half years, the Carrick man was left facing an uncertain future when he as suddenly laid off back in January.
But rather than view it as a setback, 47-year-old Nigel saw this turn of events as an opportunity to take control of his life and do things on his own terms.
“There are limited choices for unemployed people during a recession, and I was aware that employers are keen to hire younger people,” he told the Times.
“I have over two decades of experience in the motors industry and had built up a good rapport with local customers during my time at Ellis Autoparts, so I decided to capitalise on that and go into business for myself,” he told the Times.
“Also, I have two young children at home, and felt that becoming my own boss would provide me with the flexibility to spend more time with them.
“I think I would have considered going in to business for myself at some point in the future, but losing my job provided me with the catalyst I needed.”
Just three months after losing his job, Nigel’s fledging business, A & R Autoparts, was up and running at his new premises at LEDCOM Business Park on Bank Road.
Nigel is keenly aware that he faces stiff competition in the Larne area, but he is not fazed by it and doesn’t regret his decision to set up shop in the town.
“I like the Larne people, I get on well with them and they have been good to me over the years. I had already built up a strong customer base in the town, so it seemed like the right place to establish my business,” he added.
“I was slightly concerned that, having been between jobs for a couple of months, some of my customers may have taken their business elsewhere.
“But I have a lot of support from my loyal customers since I opened my doors at LEDCOM.
“We sell a good range of quality products at reasonable prices. If we don’t have the item you need, we will strive to get it as quickly as possible, with daily deliveries from our suppliers.
Nigel has worked in the motor trade for the past 25 years, after briefing trying his hand in the catering business.
“I quickly found that it wasn’t for me, so I fell into the mechanic trade and haven’t looked back since. My father and grandfather had similar professions, so I suppose it is in my blood.”
Joining Nigel in his business venture is Gary Heron, a colleague who worked alongside him at Ellis Autoparts and was also made redundant.
Gary is currently the only employee at A & R Autoparts NI, but Nigel is hopeful of taking on more staff further down the line when his company has found its legs.
He also harbours dreams of expanding the business in years to come.
“Being my own boss can be stressful, and work doesn’t always stop at 5.30pm. But while the days may be longer, the reward at the end of it is much more satisfying,” he concluded.
n For more information about A&R Autoparts, contact 028 2827 3485. The company is based at Unit 56, LEDCOM.