This year Fraser's of Gloucester will be celebrating its 40th year with its biggest ever open weekend on Saturday 25 - Sunday 26 June.
Owner Neal Fraser said : "Guy Martin, Tommy Bridewell, Larry Carter, Chesca Miles and the MCN babes will be there to name but a few. We will also be offering some exclusive clothing and bike deals across the weekend so come and join us and grab a bargain."
Family firm since 1971
Fraser's of Gloucester is a family run business, established in 1971 by Neal Fraser. Neal doesn't really do offices. He's too busy making sure his business runs smoothly to be tucked away behind a desk. That's why you would probably find him at athe back of the workshop.
"I think they put me here to keep me out of the way," he laughs. In fact, Neal laughs a lot. It's a sure sign that he enjoys what he does for a living. He's passionate, articulate and shrewd, which is possibly why the dealership picked up a prestigious MCN award.
He said: "It's the staff who have won it. I know that when a customer rings us with a problem, it doesn't matter who answers the phone, that problem will get sorted. My staff have alway been great. They love what they do as much as I do. My sales manager Jon Bartlett has been with me for 29 years, my service manager Rachel Cooper, who is also a fully qualified technician, has been with me for 15 years and some of the others have been here 10 or 15 years."
Neal got interested in bikes by tearing about on old field bikes that he and his mates would cobble up. "We used to ride at the top of a hill, and Jim and Bob Timms - local hauliers, who were also works Cotton scrambles riders - would come up there for a spot of practice. They'd ride until they ran out of fuel and the walk home, giving us a couple of pence to bring their bikes back down for them. We'd fetch a bit of fuel and ride their works bikes round for a bit - I don't know if they knew or not. That got me hooked."
It all started out in a shed
Neal started out fixing bikes from his parents' garden shed and then went on to rent part of an old stable block in the centre of town where he set up on his own, buying and selling a few bikes and doing servicing and repairs. The business really took off and, in 1972, Neal (with a bit of help from his dad, who re-mortgaged his house as security for the loan) bought a couple of shops in Gloucester's Barton Street. By then, he was sourcing new machines from main dealers and supplying them to his own customers.
"Bill Smith Motors in Chester was one of the first dealers who'd supply me," Neal recalls. "Bill helped me out a lot and I'm still grateful. John Morse, who worked at Welch Ltd in Bristol (now Bristol Kawasaki), was another who really gave me a leg up. In 1979, he told Kawasaki that I'd sold more new Kawasakis than he had in Bristol, and that they should make me a dealer. They did too, and I stayed solus Kawasaki right up until 1996 - trading as Gloucester Kawasaki Centre. The move to the present premises on Bristol Road came about in 1996."
"We took on Yamaha in 1997 and Suzuki the following year and, since then, we've also landed Aprilia , Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera and Peugeot."
Boss still works all hours
Neal still puts in the sort of hours that would shame a young man in his first year of business, let alone an award-winning veteran of the trade. "I still do a 72-hour weel on average," he says. "I don't leave until 9pm six days a week. I don't mind, but it's a hard game to be in. It's as demanding as you make it, I suppose. I do things I don't think anyone else would do - but that's how I am. If someone phones the shop at 7pm with a puncture, I'll go out in the van and pick them up myself. But as a result of that commitment we're now selling bikes to the kids and even grandkids of some of my original customers.
"That's the secret, I think. Look after the customer. They can always go somewhere else, so you need to make them feel like they don't want to." The philosophy of going the extra mile seems ingrained in Neal - and his staff - and he's constantly on the look-out for new ways to keepp customers happy.
Keeping customers happy
Every department within the Fraser's operation has to contribute to the ongoing success of the business and the immaculate showroom testifies to the company's desire to buck trends.
Pride and passion for what they do is what gets them going in the morning - which is why they enjoy a lot of happy customers.
Contact: Fraser's of Gloucester tel: 01452 306485; fax 01452 309191; www.frasersmotorcycles.co.uk