Leaving motor garage not too big a wrench

Mechanic Keith Ruthven will turn to stripping aircraft engines at Flightline Aviation after...
Mechanic Keith Ruthven will turn to stripping aircraft engines at Flightline Aviation after selling the Momona Garage and Service Station to Dunedin International Airport Ltd. Photo by Jane Dawber.
One of the Taieri's familiar features - the Momona Garage and Service Station - has been sold.

But customers need not be concerned. It has been bought by Dunedin International Airport Ltd.

The sales agreement will be settled on January 31, and neither the airport's chief executive John McCall nor business owner Keith Ruthven would disclose the purchase price.

Mr McCall said he recognised the importance of the garage and service station to the surrounding community.

"The garage will remain open after January 31 and we will continue to evaluate options for ongoing operations.

"Options currently being considered by [the airport] ... include employing staff to operate the service station and workshop areas, leasing out the total business, or a partial lease on the workshop."

The service station would remain under the Gasoline Alley Services brand, he said.

"Strategically, this purchase is important to [the airport] ... and the local community, and we consider ourselves very much part of that community," Mr McCall said.

"We [the airport] have houses in Momona village. A lot of our employees live in the area.

"It's important for the facility to remain there," Mr McCall said.

"Without it, it would be quite an isolated place."

Mr Ruthven said he started working at the garage back in 1970 as an apprentice mechanic, and had bought the business for himself in 1981.

"I'm 60 years old now and I've decided it's time to have a life.

"I've been here too long," Mr Ruthven said.

"Working in a workshop in the winter here when it got to -10degC was quite unpleasant.

"And crawling underneath bikes, tractors, cars and trucks - I think it's a young man's job."

Mr Ruthven said he had lived on the Taieri all his life, and despite the sale of what he referred to as his "second home", he has no plans to leave the area.

In fact, after a holiday in Melbourne to visit his daughter, he plans to pick up a wrench again - this time working three days a week stripping aircraft engines at Flightline Aviation at the airport.

"Three days a week is much more gentlemanly hours than working seven days a week like I have been."

Mr Ruthven said the business had been on the open market for about two months, with several potential buyers expressing interest.





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