Vale of Belvoir garage owners celebrate its 100th birthday

One hundred years ago a small garage was opened in Stathern to service and repair the increasing numbers of motor cars taking to the roads of the Vale of Belvoir.

By Nick Rennie
Friday, 6th May 2022, 2:45 pm
Owner Adam Davies and Louise Rigley in the shop and cafe at Stathern Garage with staff member Megan Gray (left)
Owner Adam Davies and Louise Rigley in the shop and cafe at Stathern Garage with staff member Megan Gray (left)

And it’s still going today, with the addition of a shop and a cafe and continues to be a real social hub for villagers.

Adam Davies, who started his working life serving at the petrol pumps as a schoolboy, has owned it since 2008 and he now runs the expanded business with partner, Louise Rigley.

Adam told the Melton Times: “I’ve worked here since I was 15 and there is a real history to the place.

Adam Davies and Louise Rigley outside the shop and cafe at Stathern Garage

“We only realised how old it was when someone from the village texted me and said ‘happy 100th birthday’.

“I did a bit of research and found an article saying it opened on April 9, 1922, which is amazing.”

The founder was Eddie Wood, who bought the land off the Duke of Rutland in 1920 - apparently the duke was selling off parts of the estate at the time for inheritance tax reasons.

Mr Wood, who also owned the pub over the road - The Plough, also ran a wedding vehicle and bus hire business from the garage, alongside the repairs and servicing services.

Stathern Garage on the left pictured in the early 1920s, shortly after it opened, with The Plough pub opposite, which is still trading as well

A Mr Cook took the garage on after marrying Edward's daughter, Muriel, who only recently passed away.

Ian Shipman was the next owner in 1989 before Adam bought it off him after starting a mechanics apprenticeship there when he was 19.

Adam said: “We decided to expand when we heard the village shop and the Post Office were shutting a few years ago.

“The cafe started up in 2017 and the shop sells a lot more items now.”

Adam Davies and Louise Rigley outside Stathern Garage

He has plans to move the garage side of the operations to a new site on the edge of the village although the shop, cafe and petrol pumps would remain where they are.

The Main Street business, which now employs nine people and some part-time people, did food deliveries to vulnerable local people during the pandemic lockdowns.

Louise said: “There is a lovely community feeling in the place every day.

“The garage is a social hub and it has always been like that really. If anyone had anything broken in the old days they would come to the garage to get it fixed.

A bus operated by the founder of Stathern Garage in the 1920s

“We have a wide range of customers, not just residents of the village. We get walkers, cyclists, passing motorists.

“The Vale has great cycling routes and lots of cyclists pop in while they are coming through.”

The shop and cafe, which is open seven days a week, prides itself on using produce from other local businesses, including from the next door butcher’s shop.

Louise added: “We are a local business ourselves so we think it is only right that we support other local businesses in the area.

"We have a great team working here and many of the staff have been with us for quite a few years now.”