This year James Hart (Chorley) Limited is celebrating 100 years on our site in Chorley, in addition to two long-serving members of staff being with the company for a combined 50 years (25 years each). 

We run a family business, and, as such, every member of staff is part of our family. 

We decided to do an interview with them to find out why they’ve stayed so long and some of the best and most memorable times that stand out from over the years.

Here’s Adam’s responses;

1.)   Can you tell me about your first day at the company?

My first day – “Textbook – in at the deep end”. 

I arrived for my first day only to be locked out of the office (unusual – back then James started at 6am). Phil spotted me loitering and came over asking why I was there so early and in casual clothes!

James had taken an impromptu Spanish holiday and hadn’t informed his brother (or his Dad Jim Hart MD, for that matter), that he had given me a job ! So that was me – in the hot seat and hanging onto the reins from the first minute and I’ve never (had time) to look back…..

When James offered me a job working alongside him, all those years ago, the Parts office was exactly that – a small (4m x 3m) room with two desks, three chairs and crucially five phones !

Previously, I was a Sales Rep for a National Commercial Parts Manufacturer/Distributor and at that point in time had just moved house and had our second child. So it was a massive decision for me to risk leaving the security of my previous position. 

But I took a chance with James’s promise that he would NEVER let me down, and can honestly say it was one of the best decisions of my life.

2.)   Some of your best moments at the company

From James and myself juggling two phones each and a mobile, to growing our Parts sales team to seven dedicated people on sales, I have seen the company grow from a small family business to a thriving 34 strong workforce.

3.)   Can you tell us some of the worst moments for the company or yourself whilst working here and how you all came through it together?

Over the years there have been many highs and inevitably a few lows.

From making a great sale out of surplus parts everyone else wanted to throw away, or finalising a deal after a 46 hour mega-shift. We have recovered from some massive blows – companies liquidating owing us huge sums, to the most tragic, devastating time of the passing of James’ baby girl, Rachel.

4.)   What’s made you stay for so long?

I have met some amazing people over the years, many of whom are still here and have become great friends. 

There have been a couple of bad apples I have been glad to see go –  but through it all I can say James has been good to his word, and in turn I have given my all to this company, as if it were my own.

I made the right choice to come and work here and have no regreats at all..

Here’s what Joanne had to say to us;

1.)   Can you tell me about your first day at the company?

After finishing a one year office/admin course upon leaving school my parents took me down to the careers office in town to see what jobs were available in admin sector. 

That morning a job for an office junior at James Hart (Chorley) Ltd had been put up on the board, so the careers officer rang and booked me an interview, I went down that afternoon and was given a trial the same week, the rest is history, so to speak!

After my first week I actually came home and cried saying that I couldn’t do the job. My dad said for me to give it a month and if I still didn’t like it then we’d look for something else – but here I am 25 years later! 

I think it was because I was a shy and naive 17 year old and I was working with James and Phil’s auntie, Irene Hart who is an absolutely lovely lady, but let’s just say she was very “old school” in her ways. She had a stern and matter-of-fact approach, which to me at that age was very frightening and unfamiliar having just left school. 

Having said this though on reflection I couldn’t have had a better mentor, as I don’t think I’d be where I am now if I hadn’t been left to get on with the jobs and learn things as I went on.

2.)   Some of your best moments at the company

It’s hard to pin down my best moment as there are loads of happy memories of working here. Seeing the business grow, like when we opened the MOT department a few years ago, and seeing the development of the company is very pleasing for me.

When I started here we didn’t even run the main HGV garage, we were mainly parts and vehicle sales with the odd repair and paint job but now have four departments; parts, sales, workshop and MOT.

We also have twice as many staff from when I started. It just shows how the company is going from strength to strength and celebrating the 100th anniversary makes me feel proud to have been a part of the history of the company for a quarter of that time. 

Also, with little James starting working here a little over 12 months ago, this is another milestone for me, as he will be the 4th “James Hart” I will have had the pleasure of working for/with! 🙂

3.)   Can you tell us some of the worst moments for the company or yourself whilst working here and how you all came through it together?

To be honest there aren’t many bad moments, well not that I can tell you about on here anyway lol. 

Obviously when James lost his daughter Rachel, I’d only been there 2 years so felt quite helpless and didn’t really know how to handle the situation, as this was an horrendous time for whole family, but I just continued to work as best as I could and was amazed by the strength of the family to recover from such an awful situation and come back to work and carry on as they did. 

Another tough time was in 2008 when the UK entered a recession and we took one of the largest hits we’ve ever had with a company going bust on us for a large amount. This was a really difficult time for James Hart’s but we learned lessons from it and have since put procedures in place to hopefully prevent anything like that happening again.

I’d say the only other time that sticks in my mind is what is happening right now, the Coronavirus pandemic. I’ve never experienced anything like it! Staff having to be furloughed and just the whole team spirit of James’s Hart being upset by what has happened is very unfamiliar to me, having the right team behind the scenes is what makes a great company in my opinion, and I’ll know we’ll get through this and become stronger than ever.

4.)   What’s made you stay for so long?

The reason I have stayed at for so long is because of the appreciation the company has for hard working employees. Sometimes when times are hard you could easily chuck the towel in and leave it to someone else to deal with, but if you feel appreciated then it makes you go that little bit further knowing that you aren’t just doing it for no reason. You are helping to a build successful company which in the long run benefits everyone. 

The work ethic of the company and the team spirit are major factors and also the company’s desire to provide high-quality services at the most competitive prices is also something I am very proud of. We are most defiantly not one of those companies who are all about just making money, the quality of service and reputation of the company are also something that we value just as highly.

Hope you enjoyed the insight!

We hope you have enjoyed reading this and that it gives you a little insight into our company and the amazing people that work for us! 

Once the current pandemic crisis is over you’ll be welcome to come and visit us and meet up with once again! In the meantime, we’re on Zoom, Skype or even the old-fashioned phone!