The Jones family celebrating 40 years at their service station in Kirwee

Kirwee Challenge celebrates

by Ann van Engelen

Stuart and Edwina Jones and their staff at Kirwee Challenge Service Station celebrated 40 years of success last week.

“The service station originally opened in 1960, and we took over on November 1, 1979,” says Stuart.

“I was brought up in the country and am a country boy at heart, so this location appealed to us. There have been a lot of industry changes over time. For a start, interest rates started at 18 per cent, with our second mortgage being 22 per cent and our margin on fuel was just four cents a litre, and that is slightly better now.

“We have a full-service centre and seven-day dairy and post office. We are the central hub of our community, and many of our staff have been with us for over a decade. Our daughter runs the forecourt and our son the workshop, and we support our local groups, schools and clubs and do things together.”

Stuart is also the local fire brigade chief and believes good staff are an asset to any business’s ‘longevity’.

“If we can keep going, they keep going. Challenge was formed by a group of independent people who were held ransom from the large companies with gas supply. We established our group and went alone. We put in our own tanks and pumps and became Independent Challenge dealers. The South Island went first, and the north followed as a way to supply our customers with a local, family-owned community orientated service, owned by Kiwis for Kiwis — we are Kiwi as.”