We’ve been speaking to Tooting businesses about how the lockdowns have affected them. Sharon Williams, co-owner of Springbok Garage Ltd, gives us an insight into her family-run business of 58 years and how it has fared now restrictions are lifted.
Sharon tells us, “Springbok Garage is owned and managed by my brother Dezi and I, who have carried on a long family tradition of mechanical engineering dating back as far as the Industrial Revolution.
The business was started by our great-grandfather, Arthur Williams. Arthur was born in London in 1874; he joined the army and was posted by the Royal Engineers to a remote island off the coast of South Africa. He married and moved to Cape Town, where he opened a motor garage. Arthur’s youngest son Bill (our grandfather) joined the family business and, in 1955, decided to move back to the UK to settle in Ashvale Road, Tooting. My Dad Desmond (now retired) and his brother Leslie (or Buddy as he is known) opened the Garage in 1963, under the name of Springbok to represent the family’s earlier life in South Africa.
“My bother Dezi joined the business in 1983, and I took over the running of the office a few years later. My Dad handed over the reins to us when he retired, and we have continued to serve the local community and keep everyone safe on the road.
“Dezi and I have seen the business survive many things, but the pandemic hit us hard. In the early days of the first lockdown, we found it challenging to get spare parts for repairs, and the MOT Extension meant our work had slowed down.
“Thankfully, with the help of our loyal customers, Springbok is beginning to return to normal, and we’re approaching the coming months with cautious optimism.”
Springbok Garage can be found on 110 Totterdown St, London SW17 8TA. More info on their website: www.springbokgarage.co.uk