Whanganui's Greg Cox has pulled the pin on his business of 40 years after ensuring his 14 staff all had new jobs to go to.
Cox's business Berdeck Village, based in Taupo Quay, provided truck maintenance and repairs, maintenance and rebuilding of machinery tracks, truck recovery and towing services. For the past 32 years it was contracted to do salvage services for New Zealand Police and was also contracted to State Roadside Rescue.
However, a heart attack and quadruple bypass 18 months ago forced Cox to refocus his priorities to reduce stress and when his son didn't want to take over the business he made the call to close it, shutting the doors the week before Christmas.
"The rumours are right but we played it very close to our chest because I had to find jobs for all my staff," Cox said.
"I said to my staff if they haven't got a job by Christmas I'll just keep paying them until they have got a job."
The 14 staff all have new employment, one of the trucks and a ute have been sold to an Otaki business and Wanganui Toyota, who employed two of Cox's staff and bought one of the tow trucks, has taken over some contracts, Cox said.
Many people did not understand the pressure business owners were under and the risks they took, Cox said.
"I'm very lucky to be here. It's been quite a humbling experience.
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"So we're just going through all the emotions, closing it up. It's quite surprising the people around who don't realise the emotional attachment you have with a business.
"Businesses turn you into someone you don't want to be because you have to be a bulldog to run a business - you can't run a business when it comes to a trade and be all touchy feely. [All the pressure] really does change your personality."
Cox had ordered two new Kenworth trucks, costing $1.6 million, three weeks before his heart attack. He's hanging on to those.
The former Horizons regional councillor said he is working through clearing out the large building and intends to "potter around" with his big trucks.
"Just towing broken down trucks and doing bits and pieces when I feel like doing it and no staff. I just had to dump all that pressure."
He sold the Taupo Quay property to Mitre 10 several years ago and had been renting it back so did not know if there were any plans for the property.
Berdeck Village has been a regular supporter of Hospice Whanganui and events and individuals through its annual sponsorship budget, as well as giving $10,000 to the Splash Centre construction.