PETER Baulch is rubber man — he’s been in the tyre trade for 37 years and has just bounced back from retrenchment to start another chapter in his long career.
“It’s an industry with a long future — I can’t see us going back to horse and cart days,” the 54-year-old told The Standard yesterday, his first as new owner of the Bridgestone franchise in Fairy Street, Warrnambool.
He bought the business after being retrenched when Beaurepaires closed its outlet on Raglan Parade at Christmas.
His 21-year-old son Jamie, who was also among those retrenched, has joined the new family venture and will tap into his father’s vast experience.
“You get to learn a lot in 37 years, but the bottom line is if you provide good service the customer will keep coming back,” Peter said.
“Jamie got his start in the trade as a school student and used to help out in the holidays.
“My father Les Baulch drove buses for 40 years and wore out a lot of tyres — so you could say rubber is in our blood.”
Mr Baulch started his working career as a teenager in the former Fletcher Jones factory and after 12 months went to the old Dunlop tyre outlet on Banyan Street before transferring to Beaurepaires further west on Raglan Parade. He also served two stints as the Cobden Beaurepaires manager.
The Beaurepaires company closed its Warrnambool branch on December 23 last year after a 76-year link with the city.
Its site will now become the new regional office for the Department of Environment and Primary Industry.
Mr Baulch’s career has taken him from the era of cross-ply tyres to highly-engineered radials in cars and trucks.
“It’s a very physical job and can be dangerous, particularly with truck tyres,” he said.
“Nowadays there’s a lot better equipment to do the job.”