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Two Tone Motors

Owner, Harry Clews

Two Tone Motors has been based at Moss Industrial Estate in Leigh for 40 years. The business offers garage services, body repairs, MOT’s, servicing, diagnostics, tyres and air con servicing mostly for company fleet vehicles.

The business was started by Harry Clews and his partner back in 1979. At just 20 years old, Harry was just starting out and didn’t have two pennies to rub together. Sadly, the partnership didn’t work out but Harry picked himself up and carried on alone. He built the business from scratch, initially subletting from a car sales business based on Moss Industrial Estate.

In the early 1980s, Harry secured his own lease from Walter Moss, the grandfather of the current managing director, Sebastian Moss, and started hiring employees.

The business grew solidly and by the 1990’s, Two Tone Motors was the largest repair shop in the area outside Manchester. Harry employed 30 people and was trading across Europe.

What are the biggest challenges
you have faced?

The motor industry has changed significantly over the years. At one time, I diversified into accident management and dealt with all the major insurance companies. It was good pay, and I was doing a good job. However, I was increasingly expected to cut corners and that wasn’t my style. I have always wanted to do the very best job I can for my customers.

I was also going through a divorce at the time and so I decided to scale the business back. You have to be prepared to change with the times or you don’t survive so I went back to basics doing what I do best, doing as good job and giving my customers an honest and reliable service.

What have been the main benefits of running your business from Moss Industrial Estate?

I initially chose my location as it was a captive market for companies with fleet vehicles and I grew the business by showing what I can do and by doing a good, honest job.

I have worked with three generations of the Moss family over the years and they’ve all been very different personalities. I have always had great respect for the family, as they have for me. Walter was an old-style businessman with a great sense of humour. Walter’s son, Philip, and his grandson and current owner, Sebastian, have done a lot to improve the site and make it a green and pleasant environment for businesses. They are very proud of the estate and it’s great what they have done with it.

Forty years on, how is business today and what does the future have in store?

Business is going well. We employ nine people and I’m proud of our reputation and what I have achieved. I have never taken any time off for anything and have always been focussed on keeping the business going.

I am now heading towards my retirement, so it’ll soon be time for me to pass on the business. I used to be very ambitious and wanted to expand, whatever the cost, but I have learnt a lot of life lessons along the way.

I’m sure that Two Tone Motors will carry on under new leadership, just as Moss Industrial Estate has done for the last 100 years.