A mixture of old and new is the recipe for success at Hillside Motors in Brae. The former Central Garage changed hands in June and customers have since been greeted by faces and surroundings both new and familiar.
The garage is still the islands’ only Citroën dealership - offering sales, authorised repair and Citroën parts distribution.
As a Citroën approved repairer the workshop carries specialist Citroën tools and diagnostic equipment. Plus the staff have additional specialist training for working on Citroën vehicles.
“It is important to keep up with all the latest technology,” explains new owner and managing director Martin Tregonning, “but the experience of the workshop is just as important, so we are really pleased to have retained the workshop staff from the former garage.”
The existing team of three qualified mechanics - Martin Peterson, John Stanley and consultant technician Adam Roberts - are passing their experience on to two apprentices, who are coming back from college with top results. “We believe in investing in our people, after all, it’s the people who fix the cars.”
Indeed, at Hillside Motors they believe that their most valuable asset is their staff. “We have a great team of guys in the workshop – there’s great team spirit and a really professional work force,” says service adviser Eve Eunson, one of the new faces helping front the management team and service desk. “It’s a very exciting place to be working.”
Of course, Hillside are not just a Citroën garage and are keen to welcome all other makes and models of vehicle for servicing, repairs and parts.
“We feel it’s very important to provide a full service for the islands and can look after all makes of vehicle, and we now have a tie-in with Motaquip, one of the leading brands in service parts, so we can get parts for any make or model of car.”
And its good news for bikes, trikes and other three-wheeled vehicles; as well as testing vehicles up to class 4, Hillside also does motorcycle MOTs and is the only garage in Shetland to test three-wheelers. “Motorcycle and three-wheeler MOTs are something this garage has always done, and it’s something that Hillside will continue to do, mainly as a local service,” explains Martin.
If you’re considering buying a new Citroën, we can reveal that Hillside has teamed up with Duthie’s of Montrose to provide the Shetland market. “It means vehicles are available through a local company, but with the buying power of a large dealership, all shipped to Shetland at no extra cost. Duthie’s have a dedicated Citroën commercial sales department, which is good news for drivers of favourites like Berlingos and Relays.”
In fact, one of Hillside’s first sales was to local charity COPE, which bought a Berlingo Multi Space for distributing its familiar sandwiches. “We don’t currently stock demonstrator vehicles so we arranged for a test drive from an existing owner who was happy to help. This also allowed COPE a firsthand, honest opinion from an existing customer,” Martin explains.
Being in Brae, Hillside is well placed to serve the whole of Shetland. “We literally have customers the length and breadth of Shetland - from Fair Isle to Unst, Skerries to Foula,” Eve explains.
And the company is becoming even more accessible. “We have a fleet of courtesy cars to offer customers who have their vehicles booked in for service or repair and now we also offer a collection service across mainland Shetland. Our staff come from all over, so we can usually help customers out if it’s difficult for them to bring their cars to us.”
Those customers who do visit the garage for while-you-wait jobs can relax with a hot coffee and make use of the free wi-fi connection or browse the expanding retail selection.
And of course it’s not just adults who are experiencing all that Hillside has to offer. Children are always welcome at the garage and Martin is developing the family-friendly waiting area to include toys for youngsters, courtesy of Peerie Foxes, and the super-cool Citroën pedal car.
So if you’re looking for a professional, friendly service tailored to you and your busy lifestyle, why not see how Hillside Motors can help?
“Our individual customers are very important to us; they are our long term business and no job is too big or too small. We understand how difficult it can be to find time to fit in a visit to the garage and we are happy to help out where ever we can,” says Martin.
Hillside Motors, Hillside, Brae, Shetland, ZE2 9QG, Telephone: 01806 520 000.
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 8am to 5.30pm, closed on Saturdays and Sundays.