Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Quarter-Century Milestone; Sarina Auto Group Owes It All to Locals

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Quarter-Century Milestone; Sarina Auto Group Owes It All to Locals

Article excerpt

Byline: Rainee Shepperson Rainee.Shepperson@dailymercury.com.au

A QUARTER of a century in business - that's the rewarding milestone Sarina Auto Group is celebrating this week.

John Norton traded his job as an auto electrician on a mine site for life as a businessman on September 17, 1993 when he purchased Sarina Auto Group with his wife Jeannie.

On their first day of business, only one customer came into the shop - and John didn't charge them. However, the worrying start didn't last long. The business had 60 per cent growth each year for the first three years, and has steadily grown ever since.

"Jean and I were both living out at Dysart at the time of buying the shop," Mr Norton said.

"We originally just came into Sarina to get our tax done and noticed in the accountant's office a sign saying business for sale.

"I only really wanted the plant and equipment but we ended up buying the business.

"We then moved to Sarina and built a house at Grasstree Beach in 1995 where we lived for 23 years."

Mr and Mrs Norton have recently moved to Mackay and plan to put the business on the market as they prepare for retirement.

"Jean has been a kindergarten teacher and disability worker for a while now, and we've got children all over the world, so we want to go and visit them," Mr Norton said.

"I still like my job, but I've just got other things I want to do now."

Sarina Auto Group carries out auto electrical and automotive air conditioning and has trained nine apprentices and 13 office staff over the years.

The business has worked with several different companies around the region.

"We would do work in Dysart, Mackay and St Lawrence," Mr Norton said.

"We have also done a lot of work for Dalrymple Bay, Aurizon, Pacific National and Hughes Grazing.

"It's the support from those companies and farmers that keeps you rolling. …

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