Longevity in business is becoming increasingly rare, so achieving 60 years of history and success is certainly worth celebrating, and Steve Penrose along with his family and the team at Penrose Motors Smash Repairs (PMSR) are doing just that. PMSR began when Fred Penrose, Steve's father, completed his apprenticeship in panel beating in the 1950's. The skilled worker was part of the first class through Wollongong TAFE and was named Apprentice of the Year.
Steve said his father along with his two uncles soon decided to go into business together, setting up shop in Unanderra near Wollongong. "Unanderra was where the first shop was located and there was my dad who was a panel beater and his two brothers who were mechanics," he said. "They were originally renting in 1961 when they first opened the doors and ended up buying a shop in 1966, where they worked together for years until my father took over the shop by himself."
Steve became a partner with his father in the mid 1990's after finishing his apprenticeship in 1984, and after two decades, the team decided it was time for a change. "The idea for Boorowa came about when dad was riding his motorbike through and he ended up buying some acreage that was being auctioned as an investment and it grew from there," he said.
"We were just after a lifestyle change, we had started a family and at the time there were almost 80 panel beaters in the Wollongong area, so we decided there was more chance to really build a business in a regional area.
"We approached the original owner about buying the business, we got the keys to the shop in Boorowa on April 9, 2009, and since then my dad has retired and my wife became a partner in the business."
Since then PMSR has gone from strength and has built a solid reputation for quality work and service. Steve said that he has enjoyed not only being able to help locals with the vehicles, but also engage in something he truly loves doing.
"Restoration is my passion, it's extremely satisfying building and restoring a car," he said. "My favourite projects would have to be a chopped up Volkswagen or a Kombi van we restored for a guy from Melbourne that ended up selling for $202,000 at a Shannon's auction, which was a record at the time."
Steve said they didn't have anything extravagant planned for their 60th celebrations other than a quiet beer or two. "At the end of the day we appreciate all the support we have had over the years, especially since making the move to Boorowa," he said. "It's great to see regional towns starting to thrive again and that all comes back to communities supporting each other."