Bob took good advice early and has dedicated work ethic
HOPE'S Body Repairs will celebrate its 40th anniversary tomorrow, a feat founder and owner Bob Hope said was made possible from a small piece of advice he received from one of his very first customers.
"One of my first customers told me a few bits of advice that have been absolutely true," Mr Hope said.
"He said you have started this business and you should do well.
"You have three young kids who you need to keep in school.
"You need to work day and night to make sure that every bill is paid at the end of each month.
"Even if it means you can't eat.
"So that is what I did."
Mr Hope said the customer told him not to spend money on things he did not need like new cars.
"So I bought an old ute," he said.
"The customer told me to be careful with my money for seven years and then I would be able to walk into any shop and buy want I wanted, and he was right."
Coach and body building has been Mr Hope's trade for 53 years.
He started his five-year apprenticeship on December 19, 1960, at 25 Albion St, which was then home to Jackson Panel.
"My first pay cheque was for four pounds and six pence, which is $8.65 and out of that I still had to pay board," he said.
"After 13 years with him I decided it was time to start my own business," he said.
When Mr Hope said when he told people he was starting his own business in the industrial estate along McEvoy St they told him he was crazy.
"There was nothing out here when I opened except for a small office building across the road, the brickworks and a very small Riverina business," he said.
"People said I was crazy, but I couldn't stay in town and the saleyards were out here."
Mr Hope said it did not take long for other businesses to make the move out to the estate.
He said it was the challenge behind starting a new business he really enjoyed.
"There have been tough times though," he said.
"But you get through them by being smart and learning when you can and cannot spend money."
When Mr Hope first opened up shop he never imagined it would expand as much as it has in the past 40 years.
He started with one other employee and now has a staff base of 16.
The expansion has gone even further recently with the purchase of the engineering company Lang and Walker.
Mr Hope said their new location, a large building out the back of the workshop, was due to be finished in two short months.
Despite his children taking up positions in the company, Mr Hope said he was not quite ready to step down just yet.
"I am semi-retired," he said.
"I try not to get my hands too dirty anymore."
Mr Hope said the trick to staying open for 40 years was hard work and dedication.
"I worked from 5am to 8pm for many, many years," he said.
"I tried to give my customers everything they wanted. The aim was to keep them happy."
Mr Hope said he wanted to thank his customers for their loyal service over the past 40 years and for sticking with him through the good and bad times.