Car dealer puts site on sale for £1m as it eyes move to bigger premises
A family-run car dealership outside Belfast with more than four decades in the business is to build a new major development as it looks to expand.
John Walsh (61) and his brother Frank have been running J and F Motors in Mallusk for the last 45 years.
But now they have put their current sales site on the market, with plans to move to a new location close by, doubling the firm's size, and adding around six new jobs.
The site is on the market for £1m and is being sold by Lambert Smith Hampton.
The business already owns land close by, and the brothers are due to submit a planning application this month to develop the new car dealership - in the hope that it will be up-and-running by September.
And it's still very much a family-run business, with six members of the family working for the firm, which currently employs around 24 staff.
"We got word we were allowed to apply for planning, and we are about to submit plans for the new showroom," John Walsh said.
"We have outgrown this site. I think 2016 is going to be a good year for Northern Ireland. We are busy, and can't cope with the space we have.
"Compared to what we currently have, the new place will be two acres, as opposed to one. The building will be 18,000 sq ft in total."
Mr Walsh says the business currently shifts around 750 vehicles each year. That's everything from commercial vans, to luxury car marques such as Bentley, Porsche and Ferarri.
The business has operated from its Mallusk site for 30 years, having started off at smaller locations elsewhere around Belfast. It's also celebrating 20 years selling Mitsubishi Fuso trucks, and is one of the longest serving dealerships in the UK.
And Mr Walsh says he has a strong bank of long-time customers, who keep coming back to the business. It's that, along with his Saturday fry-ups, which ensures the business remains busy, even with bigger dealerships not far away.
"We are delighted with how the business is performing. We have, like everyone, had years of tough times, but we are out the other end.
"Now, I have banks coming to me, asking is there any chance of business.
"There's room for everyone. I have customers, who I've gathered up over the years. On Saturday, there would be 15 to 20 customers here, coming for their Belfast fry-up, or soda.
"We also need a bigger working kitchen!"