Technician to Top Store Owner – Pedders Bendigo Franchise Owner Grant Phillips
Pedders Bendigo store owner, Grant Phillips, has had an extraordinary career with Pedders – from Technician to Top Store and racing at Bathurst!
The Pedders People that make up the wider Pedders Suspension & Brakes Group have some incredible stories to tell. Many of them are veterans not only of the automotive industry, but also the Pedders business itself, and over the years they have built rewarding careers, and successful businesses when it comes to franchise owners.
Grant Phillips, our legendary Pedders Bendigo franchisee, is one of those characters that has achieved and experienced extraordinary things over his 26 years in the Pedders group.
Grant’s story is one like no other – from Technician to Franchise owner, Top Store and racing at Bathurst. Grant has done it all!
When did you first start with Pedders and what was your role?
I originally started at Pedders Bendigo in 1996 as a technician on the workshop floor. I started working on Saturdays to see if I liked it as I was working in another industry at the time. I did Saturdays at the store for probably a month or so and found that I enjoyed it so I started there full-time as a technician.
After a couple of years I became manager of the store and found that I excelled working on the counter in sales and talking to the customers. I developed a real passion for delivering great customer service and always providing solutions for the customers regardless of how hard it was.
What made you want to become a Pedders franchise owner?
Five years after joining Pedders I ended up purchasing the Bendigo store and became a Pedders Franchise Owner. I bought the store off my boss at the time, he decided to sell as the store wasn’t performing particularly well. It was a bit of a risk at the time to do it but I knew the store had potential because I knew the business very well.
Long story short, fast forward 20 years and Bendigo is one of the most successful stores in the Pedders Group. We’ve achieved more than I ever could have dreamt of. For example, the factory we were in at the time when I bought the business was massive. After six years the place was bursting at the seams, so I rented a factory nearby to hold more stock. We then moved to an even larger factory where we still are today.
Why do you think the Bendigo store has been such a success?
I had a goal to be Top Regional Store in Australia and we’ve done that now thirteen times. We never really thought it would be possible to get Top Store award being regional as we don’t have the population base of the metro stores, but now we’ve done that nine times too.
We also won the Roy Pedder Award in 2020 at the 70th year celebration conference and that was pretty special. I do have to say though I’ve never done it for the awards, I’ve just worked hard to build the business to be the best it can be and that has yielded the various successes along the way. I just try to do the right thing by my staff, head office and the customers and any awards are a bonus.
What makes our store different is we take on anything and everything. We have a lot of customers that come to us and say ‘I’ve been here and there and they won’t touch my car,’ well we’ll work on just about anything, we’ll source parts where we need to and most of the time we’ll gain a new customer. While we might not make much money out of the project that sits on our hoist for six months, we’ll benefit from the word of mouth and you hope you get their every day car. We’ve really developed a strong reputation from that.
We’ve developed a strong reputation and our team works together with a mindset to take challenges on and get a solution for each customer. We have a diverse group with varying automotive experience, from design engineering, hydraulics, mining and equipment maintenance, fabrication, mechanical and much more. When we combine our team’s strengths there’s very little that we can’t achieve.
How have you been involved in motorsport over the years?
I used to be a volunteer official at Speedway events when I was younger and I ended up doing that at Bendigo Speedway for 20 years. I also raced in Speedway and travelled around Victoria to most of the tracks so that’s where it all started. One day I went and did a track day at Winton Raceway in my old Pedders ute and really enjoyed it, so I did some club level racing for a number of years.
Then the opportunity came up to race in the Australian Production Class nationally which Mark, Scott and Ron supported for the seven years we did it. I’ve always been into motorsport so for me to do that was pretty much achieving my childhood dream. I got to race Bathurst Six Hour in the Toyota 86 which is just an incredible memory.
That car actually was fitted with the Pedders eXtreme XA Supercar Coilover kit too which was a real testament to the R&D and quality of that product. They’ve done 28,000km of racing without replacing anything, it’s speaks volumes for the quality of our products.
What’s something you’ve achieved that you’re proud of?
One of the other things I’m proud of is the work we did with Motorsports Training Australia to give young people professional experience working on race cars. Most professional teams won’t give young people a go because they have no experience, but we had a number of young people work on our Toyota 86 program prepping the car, fixing things, doing the pit stops and most of them ended up having great careers in motorsport. Many of them went on to V8 Supercars and a couple of them have stayed in the Pedders network as technicians.
What’s your best Pedders memory?
My best memory of my years with Pedders has to be when I proposed to my wife after Bendigo won the National Top Store Golden Bull at the national conference awards night in South Australia. I didn’t plan on doing it that way as it was planned for our next Bathurst outing, but when it happened in the moment it felt like the perfect thing to do in front of our Pedders family.
A close second to that would be racing Bathurst, but there’s been so many great memories over the years and a lot of incredible experiences that have been made possible with the support of Pedders, my team at Bendigo and my family.
It’s been an incredible journey, I’m now in my 27th year with Pedders, sure there have been challenges along the way, but hard work and dedication to the business has ultimately built it into what it is today and allowed me to have some great experiences and life-long memories that I am forever grateful for.
Interested in a rewarding career in the automotive industry that can take you places? Visit our Careers website today!