Suffolk car firm invests £500k as it approaches 100 years in business

Owner Ray Cawston in the new car showroom after C&L invested £500,000 into their business

Ray Cawston, owner of Cecil and Larter, in the new car showroom after the company has invested £500,000 - Credit: CECIL AND LARTER

A Suffolk car firm has spent half a million pounds futureproofing the business as it approaches its 100th birthday.

Bury St Edmunds-based Cecil and Larter was set up in 1927. Now the company has invested £500,000 into two of its service centres in the town — a new Volvo service centre on Mildenhall Road, and a service centre on Sharon Road.

The firm specialises in Volvos and SEATs, along with selling used cars under the brand name C&L.

Owner of Cecil and Larter and C&L, Ray Cawston, said: “These developments have been in the planning stage since 2017. Volvo remains very much a part of our long-term plans with the opening of our new Volvo Service Centre and our brand new high-end premium car sales operation opens up further opportunities. 

"Essentially the slight shift allows us to broaden our base and does not limit us to a single brand in an increasingly competitive market.

“We’ve had to look at the market and the trends in terms of what’s happening right now and what’s going to happen in the future. Therefore, our significant investment is part of a long-term plan to continue to support the local and regional market for many years to come.”

Ray Cawston (owner) with colleagues Tom Crawford and Dawn Barton

Ray Cawston (owner) with colleagues Tom Crawford and Dawn Barton - Credit: CECIL AND LARTER

Mr Cawston said the investment was not a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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He said: "The last 12 months has been a rollercoaster for us all. Clearly life in lockdown has had an impact, both in terms of our personal and business lives. However, while some of the minor changes made have been related to Covid, the investment has been more bigger picture.

“From our perspective, this is an investment in the future. I think it reflects optimism in a post-Covid landscape. In addition to that, industries change, so in order to prosper, we feel we have adjusted what we do to help us continue to be a force as a local retailer who supports over 50 employees and thousands of customers.

“I think the future of the retail market is going to be based around independent traders. We don’t want to see Bury becoming another of those faceless non-descript shopping centre towns. That is partly why we have invested in the business and we are very excited about our new facilities.

“Overall, I think the investment shows a commitment to the town, the county and the region and we can’t wait for people to see them.”