It sounds like a cliche – but today truly is the "end of an era" as Couplands Transport (1929) Ltd leaves family ownership for the first time in its nine-decade history.
Thomas Coupland started the business with one truck in 1929, picking up and delivering freight between Te Awamutu and Hamilton.
During summer one of the most important runs was collecting the canvas bag of ice-cream from Hamilton and getting it to the tuck shop at the Te Awamutu town baths in time for the weekend influx.
The business expanded slowly over the first few decades, Government transport regulations being the main barrier to growth.
Thomas was joined by other family members – and it continued as a family business.
Son David started as a driver and became a shareholder until 1980 when he and his wife Rosalie bought out other family members to become sole owners.
At that stage Couplands Transport had three trucks. Today they run a fleet of about 20 trucks - up to 25 depending on demand - as well as storage and distribution centres in Te Awamutu and Manurewa, Auckland.
From today David and Rosalie are no longer owners, but are staying on for up to six months as employees of new owners – the Booths Group.
The group incorporates Booths Transport based out of Palmerston North and Tomoana Warehousing based out of Hastings with a distribution centre also in Tauranga.
With the addition of Couplands, Booths now covers a large part of the North Island – from Auckland to Wellington and both coasts.
Booths Group will add Couplands Transport signs to its company identity and will continue to run part of the fleet under Couplands colours and name.
David says he and Rosalie hand-picked Booths Group to buy their business and have been working on the deal for about three years.
"Booths is owned by two brothers, Craig and Trevor, and we were attracted to it being a family business like us," he says.
"We didn't want to sell to one of the big players who were after us just to get hold of our clients."
Rosalie says they built the business around great service to a loyal client base.
"We don't have a lot of clients, but we have some big players and we look after them," she says.
In 1980 Couplands transport was based out of a shed in Factory Rd.
And it was a hands-on family business, with David driving and Rosalie often at the wheel of the pilot vehicle for specialist loads, such as deliveries to the Taharoa iron sand mining operation, complete with children asleep on the back seat.
As Government regulations changed, and trucking companies were able to expand their reach, Couplands Transport was ready to meet the new challenges.
One of their early big clients was NAC (Air NZ) – collecting up to 60 parcels a day for delivery into the Waikato and King Country.
Needing to expand, an opportunity arose when they met Bill Benson who wanted to sell some of his land.
The Couplands bought the block and in 1986 developed their new facility on what is now Benson Rd.
They added to their facilities later, and also developed and sold other commercial properties. They also sold their road to council so it could be formed through to Bond Rd.
In 1992 the couple bought land on Taylors Hill and developed off Greenhill Drive and Taylors Ave.
They built a restaurant, their own home and did residential developments - George Melrose Dr being named after Rosalie's grandfather.
A big part of their trucking business are the numerous Te Awamutu to Auckland return runs – eight a day.
In 2003 they bought land in Manurewa, cleared it and sold half before building and later expanding their own storage and distribution centre.
Two trucks are based in Auckland, which allows the company to handle the large freight flows between Auckland manufacturers and the port back into the central North Island.
It also serves the export industry from Waikato.
Rosalie says their business has reflected the region.
When there was a downturn in farming, and diversification was essential, they bought equipment suited to carting new produce, such as asparagus, flowers, berries and kiwifruit.
David says kiwifruit is still a huge apart of their seasonal work – the Waikato harvest is a major export and requires specialist care and attention for a concentrated period.
"We'll be going 24/7 soon," he says.
"It keeps us on our toes."
Keeping the family name on the trucks isn't the only link that will remain under Booths' ownership.
The Couplands are retaining ownership of land and buildings and leasing back to the new owners.
Booths are keeping on all Couplands drivers and staff and David and Rosalie's daughter Amanda Coupland, who has been operations manager until today, takes over as branch manager - and her parents' boss.