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Norfolk Truck & Van previously held the Iveco franchise in Loughton and is still there selling Renault, Isuzu and Hino vehicle ranges. Stormont therefore had to find and invest close to £1m developing its own purpose-built site about eight miles away from the previous franchisee. It is located next to junction five of the M11. Sangster describes the former warehouse as representing a big opportunity for the business, but one it will take plenty of blood, sweat and tears to realise. “We’re having to establish from scratch a new business profile and I have to say it’s a little slower than we would have liked.” There are eight technicians at Loughton, but that should rise to 12 in the future. “We need to establish a parc from our own direct sales and that will take a good 18 months as we build awareness – we offer the full range and will go 24/7 when required. At the moment we operate from 6am to midnight,” he says.
As with all of Stormont’s locations, Loughton is centrally driven and doesn’t have a general manager. Accounting and other functions are handled at the Hildenborough headquarters. “To me it’s key because of the margin that we make; you have to run as lean as you can,” he says. “Any business we have acquired in the past we’ve absorbed these functions.”