Many readers will be familiar with the Autobarn store in Narre Warren. But what readers may not know is that this fantastic local retailer is a proud family business with a long history in the automotive industry.
In fact, the family connection goes right back to before Autobarn existed.
In March 1977,Graeme Sheedy opened his own automotive parts store, known as Warragul Auto Accessories. In August 1985, Graeme and 9 other like-minded automotive retailers came together and decided to create a buying and marketing group, this was the beginning of the Autobarn.
Graeme’s son, Gavin, started working alongside his father at Autobarn Warragul in 1990 and continued to do so until Graeme sold the business in 1993.
However, Gavin wasn’t done. He continued with his passion for all things automotive and moved into a role with Autobarn head office as part of the merchandising team. Gavin then spent the next 6 years travelling to many destinations Australia wide setting up new franchise stores.
Gavin met his wife, Nicole, while setting up a country store. They married in 1999 and Gavin decided to transfer from his head office role to the newly established Narre Warren store later that year. Since then the store has gone from strength to strength and continues to be a leader within the Autobarn group, collecting several prestigious awards along the way.
In 2004 Gavin and Nicole welcomed their daughter Ashley and became owners of the Narre Warren store in 2005.
Ashley gained exposure to the operations of the store through many years of visiting her father at work and finally joined the team in an official capacity earlier this year.
Gavin and Nicole’s son Joshua was born in 2007 and like his older sister has gained exposure to the business on the regular visits. Joshua is also sure to be part of the Narre Warren team in the future.
Gavin attributes much of his success to what he learnt from his parents and his time in the shop when he was younger. He believes that no matter what Ashley and Joshua choose to do in the future, the skills they learn from retail and customer service will give them a very good start on the road to success.