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Honda returning to Staffordshire

After an absence of more than two decades, Staffordshire Triumph has announced a new Staffordshire Honda venture.

Bob Sheldon, the proprietor of Staffordshire Triumph, made the big announcement at celebrations marking 10 years at the company’s Tunstall premises in March. Whilst the celebrations were ongoing, Sheldon took the opportunity to reveal that new premises had been purchased in neighbouring Newcastle-under-Lyme which will house the new Honda franchise.

The premises, a former Vauxhall car dealership, sits in a great location in the centre of Newcastle-under-Lyme just on the edge of the Potteries and has excellent access to the whole conurbation of Stoke-on-Trent and its six towns of Hanley, Fenton, Burslem, Stoke, Tunstall and Longton. The last Honda presence in this area was with the highly respected John Taylor Motorcycles in Fenton, which closed more than twenty years ago following Taylor’s retirement. This left a considerable hole in Honda’s coverage of the Midlands, and it has long since been known that Honda was keen to establish another foothold to service the city. Neil Fletcher, head of motorcycles at Honda UK, said: “Bob’s passion and enthusiasm for all things motorcycling, the support of a great team combined with an ideal location was the right match for us to bring Honda back to the area. We’re really excited about the future of Staffordshire Honda and look forward to working with Bob and his team”.

It’s been an eventful twelve months for the team at Staffordshire Triumph. As the country emerged from the Covid crisis, the company bounced straight back with celebrations last October, marking a 20-year partnership with Triumph. Bob Sheldon also celebrated a personal landmark of 30 years in the industry. Whilst all this was going on, a major expansion project was taking shape in the background and is now nearing fruition.

Taking three years from inception to reality, the Newcastle property was finally acquired in February and following this, the Honda deal was signed and sealed.

The 13,500sq.ft premises will play host to a large showroom for the full Honda range (excluding off-road), a used bike section, workshops, MOT bay, clothing and accessories area and customer lounge. The premises benefits from great natural light, as do many ex-car showrooms, making them perfect sites for bike dealerships.

Steve Bailey, manager at Staffordshire Triumph, will take on an overarching role and manage both sites. New staff will be taken on to run the Staffordshire Honda site, as well as drawing on the experience from the Staffordshire Triumph team.

The journey has not been without its challenges. “The purchase of any premises is always a challenge,” says a pragmatic Bob Sheldon., “The first site we chose didn’t come off, but we ended up with an even better premise as a result!” There is much work to be done to get the building ready as it has been empty for some time, with flooring and décor being tackled in May. A fast-approaching target opening date in July is keeping the team focussed and motivated.

Bob, who is a born and bred Potteries man and as passionate about the area as he is about all things on two wheels, is absolutely delighted to be bringing the Honda brand back to the area. He is keen to add that this is not a one-man show, paying tribute to the hard work his wife Michelle puts in on the admin side of the business and at home, giving Bob the time and energy to drive the business.

When there is seemingly doom and gloom at almost every corner, what a boost it is to see motorcycle dealerships expanding and signalling a bright future for the industry!

Looking ahead to a July opening, Bob aims to get Staffordshire Honda up and running in the second half of this year, find its feet and accelerate into 2023, establishing the sort of reputation for outstanding customer service that its sister business at Staffordshire Triumph has worked hard to achieve and maintain.

“Lots of hard work ahead”, says Sheldon, “but what a privilege it is to be in a position to bring Honda back to the area!”

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