A ‘Lidl’ step for Roy... a giant leap for German supermarket chain: but can you help the Chapmans find a new home?

The original frontage of Roy Chapman garage and car dealership in Berkhamsted
The original frontage of Roy Chapman garage and car dealership in Berkhamsted

Family-run Ford dealership Roy Chapman is seeking a new place to call home after selling its current High Street premises to discount supermarket chain Lidl.

The firm intends to stay in the Berkhamsted area, so it can continue providing services to its existing customer base.

The decision to move in the latter part of 2015 comes as the garage and car dealership celebrates its 40th anniversary year in the town.

The family business has been based at its current site, near Billets Lane in Gossoms End, since 1974 when it was launched by Roy Chapman and his wife Anne.

The move is the latest of many steps the Chapmans have taken over the years to future-proof their firm.

Unlike many other independent franchises in the motor trade, it has withstood the recession by consolidating costs, maintaining exemplary customer service and embracing new technology.

But Roy said: “The decision to relocate has been made with a heavy heart.

“Over the years, we have built a really solid reputation for good quality, friendly work within Berkhamsted and the surrounding villages and the residents have always been very supportive of our efforts.

“However, it is our intention to find similar premises within the area and we want to assure our customers that our commitment to high quality work will continue for many years to come.”

Roy and Anne are still the main shareholders in Roy Chapman Ltd and, although not on site every day, are still very much involved in running the overall operation.

Their son Jeremy now runs the service side of the business and daughter Justine looks after sales and finance.

The Roy Chapman site originally opened as a Peugeot dealership, then sold Austin Rover, Citreon and Mazda cars before falling under the present Ford banner in 2009.

It is still a Mazda authorised repair centre and an all-makes vehicle service and MOT centre.

The owners have always maintained an ethical trading policy, resisting pressure from car manufacturers and finance houses to push credit payment protection insurance and extended warranties. As such, Roy Chapman enjoys a high reputation.