9A popular automotive expert from Colchester is promising motorists an even better experience when making a Pit Stop, after becoming a member of the national First Stop network.

Brian Palmer has been diagnosing automotive issues, providing complete vehicle repair and offering bespoke advice for 42 years and opened The Pit Stop garage in Colchester Road in 2012.

And in a boost to his business, he is the latest independent centre to become a First Stop partner, which will provide him with the backing of a national franchise network, featuring new signage, branding, equipment and premium tyre availability.

Brian said that the decision to team up with First Stop would allow him to provide an even more memorable customer service. He confirmed that he only entered into an agreement because First Stop could match his own ambitions.

He said: “I’m a people person and I only work with businesses with good people. I have known First Stop’s retail director Mark Widdows for many years and he is one of the best.

“I made the decision to become a First Stop partner because of Mark. He knows me, has looked after me in the past and I have every faith in what he is looking to achieve. He understands how I work and his solutions will put me in an even better position to meet the needs of my customers.”

The proof of the Pit Stop pudding can be seen in its financial results since lockdown in March 2020.

“The first three months were tough for everyone and we were no different but since then, we have doubled our turnover and business is buoyant,” added Brian.

“We put a lot of this down to our customer service and our reputation for always putting them first, but there has also been an increase in maintenance work on existing vehicles instead of people buying new cars.

“We service vans from leasing companies and they need us to maintain their existing fleets, so there have been opportunities for us.”

Mark Widdows said: “To welcome Brian to the network is a massive coup and demonstrates the attractiveness of our retail proposition.

“The Pit Stop is extremely respected in the Colchester community and we identified the garage as a potential partner many months ago. Brian shares our values as a network and the relationship we have is one that we will be looking to replicate across the network in future, as we seek to expand to more than 220 depots over the next three years.”

As well as eye-catching new branding, First Stop will also provide The Pit Stop with access to the Bridgestone and Firestone tyre ranges, which are amongst the most comprehensive and best performing in the industry.

First Stop will also offer staff training, while marketing and social media support will be provided as standard.

Brian added: “There’s a good team behind the scenes at First Stop and they know the industry well. They know what works and what needs to be done to keep motorists satisfied. We’ve got a lot in common in this regard and I’m looking forward to getting to work.