Cessnock Holden is going back to its early roots as a service garage in its new location at 50 Cumberland Street.
General Motors announced early this year that it would be retiring the Holden brand in Australia, and the Cessnock City Holden dealership site on Maitland Road was sold.
The Holden dealership was purchased by Jorge Lamas, the dealer principal, and Adam Cluff, the fixed operations manager.
Now known as Cessnock Holden, the business purchased Graeme Rankin Auto Service’s garage and opened its doors on August 1.
Now 72, Graeme has joined the Cessnock Holden team, and that is something Jorge Lamas is very happy about.
“To have him at 72, still under the cars carrying on his work, is good for everyone,” he said.
“It is offering a transition for his customers, and we’ve got a couple of apprentices who will benefit from having a mentor who has been in the business for many years.”
The Holden brand, a mainstay of Cessnock’s motoring service for half a century, continues to hold a special place in the hearts of many local motorists.
“Holden is Australia’s car for a lot of people,” Jorge said.
Jorge is a relative newcomer to the region, having come to Australia from Canada eight years ago and beginning work at Cessnock over a year ago.
He said Cessnock shared a lot of features with his previous hometown in Ontario, Canada.
“It’s a similar size, a farming community that’s not too far from the vineyards,” he said.
“I like a small community – I come from a place where a handshake has that same meaning as it does here. I like being in that kind of community.”
His business partner Adam grew up in the region, surrounded by Holdens of all vintages.
The Cessnock Holden service will be offering repairs and servicing to a range of makes and models, not just Holdens.
The team is made up of three technicians, a parts advisor, service advisor and concierge.
They host a Friday afternoon barbecue for clients, which is part of a return to its grass roots, Jorge said.
“We’re not going to be a standard franchise dealership – we’re a community garage,” he said.
“Garages used to be like the ‘day pub’ – somewhere you could go in the day to chat about your car problems.
“We want to continue that simple tradition – no stress. Just trusted service and believing in each other as a community.”
Cessnock Holden is planning to have a grand opening in October.
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