A husband and wife who ended up in a sticky situation as a result of the pandemic have managed to turn their fortunes around by opening their dream business.
This time last year Stuart and Karen Musselwhite, who live in Winterslow, were both working for Bromspec Motorworks in Salisbury.
But after Karen was made redundant two weeks after being brought back from furlough, the pair decided to take the plunge and do something they had always wanted to do – open their own garage.
Although setting up a business in Covid times was anything but easy, Stuart and Karen haven’t looked back.
They hope their story will inspire others forced to face similiar challenges.
‘Life is too short’
Karen, 52, joined Bromspec Motorworks in 2018.
“I used to work at Exeter House School but after suffering from a back injury I had to think of a career change.
“I came out of that job and went to the garage to learn a new skill.”
However, after Covid hit, she was put on furlough and two weeks after returning to work in May, she was let go.
Being told the news that her job was no longer there was “a big crunch” she said, “but it made us think about what we wanted to do”.
“It was always my husband’s dream to open a garage and we thought ‘let’s give this thing a go’.
“Covid has made us realise life is too short.”
‘If it wasn’t for Covid, we wouldn’t be here’
After struggling to find a unit, the pair submitted a successful business plan for a space at Harnham Trading Estate which the landlord approved.
A few weeks ago, they opened Munich Motorworks, a garage specialising in BMW and Mini vehicles, which they run alongside Stuart’s former apprentice Tom Espir.
“We specialise in BMW and Mini but we do serve other vehicles as well.
“We do repair, maintenance, software updates and things like that,” Karen said.
Starting a new business during lockdown was “hard” she says, but “if it wasn’t for Covid, we wouldn’t be here”.
Munich Motorworks is open Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 5.30pm and on Saturdays by appointment-only.
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