Battery Centre East London celebrates 33rd birthday

JANUARY 29, 2016

This month marks an exciting 33 years in business for Battery Centre East London. What started as the very first Battery Centre in the area is now part of a sprawling network that services clients across the Eastern Cape.

Owner, Henry Quirk, used his many valuable years of experience in the industry to establish and expand the Battery Centre network in the area. Quirk joined Raylite in 1978 and quickly made his way up to relief manager and rep.

Keen for a challenge and project all his own, Quirk bought the East London centre in 1982, which had been operating as an unaffiliated battery fitment centre – and running at a loss with a flailing clientele.

Starting small

“The early days of establishing the business were difficult, as most garages had workshops where they fitted batteries and this was the norm in the area,” explains Quirk. “We were offering a new, specialised concept – a convenient fast fit – and it took some convincing to build up a returning client base.”

With the help of a reliable team, Quirk managed to break into the market – he maintains the quality of the product is what kept customers coming back. In 1993, Quirk’s centre was awarded runner-up Battery Centre of the Year and, when his nephew joined him in the business in 1994, the business grew from strength to strength.

 “Family values are a big part of how we serve our customers,” says Quirk. “And that includes staff who have been with us pretty much from the start.”

New territory

Quirk was delighted when the centre was awarded Battery Centre Franchise of the Year in 1995. In 1998, Battery Centre East London took over distribution for all First National Battery clients in East London. Spreading their reach even further, Quirk opened a Battery Centre in Umtata in the same year.

“Our Umtata branch services customers from Umtata, Queenstown, Fort Beaufort and Alice, as well as areas of the Transkei,” comments Quirk. “It’s quite an incredible network, and I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of it.”

Quirk’s advice for new business owners is to spend time building relationships with customers. “It takes a strong support system and a unique connection with your clientele to have real longevity,” says Quirk. “Somehow, we managed to get that right – and I hope we can sustain it for the years to come.”

To find out more about Battery Centre, visit