WHILE many have come and gone during the same time period, the owner of an independent garage has celebrated reaching 20 years in business.

Paul Robbie Motor Services, based on Hexham’s Haugh Lane Industrial Estate, recently marked two decades since Mr Robbie decided to take the huge step to become his own boss in 1999.

Having worked at numerous garages in the town, he fulfilled a dream of owning his own business – and he hasn’t looked back since.

Mr Robbie said: “I feel chuffed to reach 20 years, and I feel it’s an achievement.

“I remember when I started out that the garage rent was five times my mortgage, so that was a huge risk.

“We were putting everything on the line and my partner Michelle has been brilliant and so understanding in helping make this work as I was working until 10 and 11 o’clock at night when I first started.

“I can name six garages in Hexham which have come and gone since I started up and I have grown a loyal customer base. We just try to be open and honest, and justify what we spend on their cars.

“We have had customers since day one stick with us, and we are now even looking after the second generation’s cars.”

Mr Robbie started his business from a premises on Haugh Lane in 1999, and moved over to the current location on the nearby industrial estate 10 years ago.

Another expansion came three years ago when he started Hexham MOT Centre in the building next door to the garage.

Mr Robbie is looking to the future and, with the help of long-serving employee David Batey, hopes to be in business for another 20 years.

His 18-year-son Cameron is now working at the business, and Mr Robbie said he would love to see it continue.

He said: “I have another son Jamie who is 15 but he isn’t interested so it all lies on Cameron. I have a few years left, but I know in the future I can step back and let Cameron take up the mantle.”