THEIR deal was sealed with a handshake and went off without a hitch – and that gives Bruce Gowing confidence his family business’s new owner will fit right in with rural life.
Former Sydney man John Drakoulis took on the Quirindi car dealership at the start of the month, after it had been in Gowing hands for more than 55 years.
Mr Drakoulis said his priority was ensuring their legacy was nurtured.
“It’s obviously been a well-run operation for so, so many years and it’s a testament to Bruce,” he said.
“We’re fortunate to have dealt with a gentleman like him, and the loyalty shown to and from staff is something we want to continue.”
Mr Gowing’s father Hec started the business, then in machinery and rural merchandise, in March 1963.
Bruce joined the fold in 1975 and, in 1979, he and brother Doug gained Toyota dealer status.
In 1986, Bruce and wife Judi bought him out – and in fact, Bruce said, she achieved their first sale.
“She was a teacher at the time and effectively sold it to one of her colleagues, then ‘retired’,” he laughed.
He said the best part of his almost 40 years at the helm had been the relationships: with long-term staff, loyal customers and Toyota: “I’ve genuinely enjoyed all the dealership life.”
Mr Drakoulis said he and his business partner had established a dealership in Sydney for six years and he’d found Gowings while looking for a tree change.
“I’ve been blown away with the response from the locals, and people coming up to introduce themselves to me … I’m looking forward to the challenge and embedding myself in the local community,” he said.
Mr Gowing said drought was an obvious challenge at this time, but Mr Drakoulis said there was still much positivity and resilience to be found in locals.
“They’ve got their challenges but the world continues on, and we’re going to try and help as much as we can in instances where we can.”
Mr Gowing said he felt satisfied the new owners were the right fit.
“I’ve known John and Hugo for about 19 months and everything we agreed upon was agreed on a handshake – and everything has happened [as agreed], which is a real indication they’ll adapt very well to country life.”