The opportunity to partner with Mercedes-Benz Trucks followed the acquisition by ETS Truck & Van in October 2019 of an established commercial vehicle maintenance facility on a site of more than half an acre in Shaftesbury Lane.
The company, which already represents MAN Truck & Van at its head office location in Poole, immediately embarked on a refurbishment programme of the six-bay workshop – two with pits – parts department and offices, before reopening on an independent basis.
Colin and his son Darren, ETS Truck & Van’s Operations Director, approached Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK after learning that established franchisee Marshall Truck & Van had resolved to shut its workshop in Poole following the opening of its own flagship branch in Southampton.
“We’ve retained the overwhelming majority of customers who’d been using the Blandford facility and were ticking along quite nicely, despite the COVID-related disruption,” recalled Colin. “But the chance to take a big step up by becoming an authorised repairer for Mercedes-Benz Trucks was one we didn’t want to pass up.
The Blandford workshop is currently open from 6am until 8pm on weekdays, and from 7am until noon on Saturdays. It is also the base for a Mercedes-Benz Service 24h van which is manned by dedicated technicians who provide round-the-clock emergency roadside assistance.
While Colin retains oversight as managing director, responsibility for the day-to-day running of the operation falls to Darren, who is supported by service manager James Lalor-Ricketts, and group parts manager Ryan Parker.
“The aim, as far as possible, is to be a ‘one-stop shop’ for customers. To that end there’s a dedicated ATF (authorised testing facility) lane at our Poole workshop that can also be used to MOT test Blandford customers’ trucks, and we have introduced additional services at the new branch such as tachograph installation and calibration, and brake testing. We’re also aiming to add LOLER weight testing for tail-lifts and will continue to extend our offer as the business develops.”
Having served his apprenticeship during the 1970s, Colin Gale joined the former Mercedes-Benz franchisee in Poole as a technician in 1986. Over the next eight years he rose through service advisor and service manager roles to become general manager. When he left in 1994 it was to launch his own venture with Darren, who was then 18. Trading as Euro Truck Services, and operating initially from a rented workshop, the pair grew their business quickly before signing-up with their first OEM – and adopting the ETS name – in 1997.