NEW START: Autobarn franchisee Stephen Fernance, Lismore City Mayor Jenny Dowell and AGS builder Simon Booth turning the first sod at Autobarn’s new premises.
NEW START: Autobarn franchisee Stephen Fernance, Lismore City Mayor Jenny Dowell and AGS builder Simon Booth turning the first sod at Autobarn’s new premises. Alex Utting

Building a new store ... and confidence

LISMORE'S Autobarn may have turned the first shovel load of dirt at their new premises last week, but the franchisee and staff have spent the last six years laying down the foundations of a good business.

The original Autobarn store, which is currently located in Woodlark St, came to Lismore six years ago.

From humble beginnings, however, the team is set to embark on an ambitious development: a brand new store that is bigger and better than ever.

The new Autobarn store, located on the block next to MacDonald's on Brewster St in Lismore, will provide car lovers with more stock, a new carpark and workshop fittings and accessories will now all be under one roof.

Franchisee Stephen Furnance said the store is moving premises because they "ran out of room".

"We've been doing well and we needed a bigger shop," Mr Furnance said.

In fact, Autobarn's move might be a sign the retail sector is moving in a more positive direction, with the Lismore store being ranked in the top five performing stores out of more than 100 in Australia.

"Our service and diversity is what has kept us going well for so long," Mr Furnace said.

"If you don't have good service you don't have customers."

Autobarn manager Ed Robertson said the store currently employs 20 staff but is hoping to expand when their new store has finished construction, hopefully by May next year.

"We've got 20 staff now but we're looking to expand to probably 25 staff when we get the new store," Mr Robertson said.

Lismore City Mayor Jenny Dowell, who attended the worksite as the crew commenced work yesterday, said the new Autobarn store is not just a positive thing for local employment.

"Yes, it's definitely about creating more jobs, but it's also about confidence building," Cr Dowell said.

"People notice new things being built and they have confidence in Lismore as a good place to invest."


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