Third-generation family business accelerates expansion plans

A PASSION for motors has always driven the Ainsworth family to succeed.

For more than 50 years, three generations have successfully led the way in steering the family garage business forward.

Now, thanks to that motoring legacy, the family’s ongoing vision, and an injection of financial expertise from Hornby Commercial, the business has successfully expanded.

As well as continuing to service large commercial vehicles for which the business has been known over the decades, Ainsworth’s have recently opened a large MOT bay with the space to accommodate larger vans, motorhomes and horse boxes. Minibuses and taxis can also be tested on site.

Investment in brand new commercial brake rollers, a 12-tonne four-post lift, beam setter and the latest MOT equipment are helping to ensure that Ainsworth’s Garage in Ulverston still continues to offer the best possible service to all their customers; commercial and private, large and small.

Founded at North Lonsdale Road, Ulverston, in the 1960s by Dick Ainsworth, the business passed to his children Richard Ainsworth, who also achieved national acclaim on the stock-car racing circuit, and Karen Garstang who ran the business together for many successful years. Richard’s son Dale also joined the team immediately after leaving school.

Louise Slee is the latest family member to have joined the following her mum Karen’s death in 2016.

Previously a senior NHS manager, Louise joined at a point where Richard and Dale were considering how best to develop the business.

“Richard has done a brilliant job over the years building the business to where it is now. There isn’t anything he doesn’t know about commercial vehicles. He is extremely experienced and knowledgeable. Dale has completed qualifications in commercial vehicles, light vehicles, diagnostics and is our MOT tester. We also employ two experienced technicians so we have a great combination of skills and experience.

“One thing we wanted to do was to expand and open a large MOT bay and update some of our commercial equipment.”

That’s where Karina Gallagher, managing director at Hornby Commercial, came in.

With expensive specialist equipment to purchase Ainsworth’s turned to Karina for Hornby Commercial’s expert financial help.

Louise said: “Karina has been fantastic. They are a local Ulverston business so she was able to just pop in and talk to us when we needed advice. Hornby’s are our accountants as well and they really understand family businesses and small businesses like ours and are brilliant to deal with. I would definitely recommend them to other businesses thinking of expanding. They have helped us grow our business.”

Having invested in the bespoke larger bay to cater for bigger vehicles, business is on the up. Ainsworth’s are now able to offer a full MOT, servicing and repair service for all types of vehicle.

Many local businesses use large sprinter vans which are easily accommodated in Ainsworth’s new bay.

For private motorists it’s the time of the year when those with motorhomes and campervans are hitting the roads for days out, weekends away, mini breaks, or even longer holidays in this country or abroad, and Ainsworth’s is ideally placed to offer all the MOT and other services for these vehicles.

Similarly those with horseboxes are getting out and about with their horses to attend shows and other equestrian events, and Ainsworth’s is the ideal place to head for MOTs, services and repairs.

Looking to the future, Louise is confident the business is set up for further growth on the back of the company’s investment.

“We still need more people to know that we are here. But word of mouth is getting around. People are starting to know about us and what we can do.

“We would encourage people to pop into the office, have a chat with me or Tony, (Tony Foy, who also works in the office) and we will see if we can help you,” said Louise. Tony is Ainsworth’s Compliance Manager who offers advice and guidance to customers on any compliance issues and understanding vehicle rules and regulations.

Karina Gallagher is delighted that Hornby Commercial was able to play its part in helping the business to grow.

She said: “Our role is to make it as painless as possible for a business to source the finance it needs.

“One of the main reasons that we launched Hornby Commercial was to make sure that business owners can still receive a personal service when they need to discuss their finances.

“In a world where banks are continuing to retreat from the High Street, and new finance providers are advertising heavily on the internet, it is never more important to make sure you are getting the right type of finance to suit your needs.

“I went to meet with Richard and Louise to discuss their requirements face to face which is always our preferred option. It gives you a great opportunity to gain a clear understanding of the business and its needs.

“We were able to advise them on the most suitable funding for them. We also dealt directly with the suppliers to take all that headache away from them.

“It meant we were able to make sure invoices were paid when they needed to be so the kit could be installed at the right time leaving Richard, Dale and Louise free to concentrate on their business.”

When it all comes together, and a business grows on the back of the advice and help Hornby Commercial has given, no-one is more delighted than Karina.

“That is fantastic. It’s the best part of the job to be honest, and it’s why we do what we do.

“I have known Ainsworth’s for many years. It’s really satisfying to see a family business, and a next generation family business, continue to expand and be successful.

“We are here to help people to get the right advice and find the best deal and make it as easy for the business as possible. We do that, so that they don’t have to worry about it.

“If you go on the internet you might find something, but you don’t know if it’s the right advice or the best price. That’s where we come in with our expertise and experience.”

To find out how Hornby Commercial can help your business grow, contact Karina Gallagher on 01229 588077 or email


Karina Gallagher, of Hornby Commercial, with Dale, Louise, Richard, and the team at Ainsworth's Garage, Ulverston

Richard Ainsworth at Ainsworth's Garage, Ulverston

Louise Slee at Ainsworth's Garage Ulverston

Editor’s notes

Hornby Commercial is a partnership between Karina Gallagher, a former Commercial Banker, and JF Hornby and Co.

JF Hornby and Co is based at the Daltongate Business Centre in Ulverston and employs 40 members of staff.

In 2015 and 2016 it was named UK Accountancy Firm of the Year.

The company offers a suite of services including accountancy, tax and tax planning, corporate finance, payroll solution and cloud accounting.

This press release was circulated on behalf of Hornby Commercial by 32West. If you have any inquiries please call 07444 022038 or 01229 808306.

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