Thursday, 18 April 2024
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Dwyers driving to success for 125 years

Dwyers driving to success for 125 years

The Dwyer family, along with friends, em-ployees and motoring stalwarts, celebrated 125 years of business last Wednesday, rem-iniscing on the history of the now booming company.
Victorian Automotive Chamber of Com-merce (VACC) president, Chris Hummer, acted as emcee for the celebration, while VACC in-dustry policy advisor, Michael Mckenna, held a Q&A session with third and fourth generation custodians, Kevin and Anthony Dwyer.
“The business (Dwyers) keeps evolving, and that’s the key to success,” Mr Hummer said.
“Dwyers is VACC member number 35, hav-ing joined the chamber in the turbulent year of 1943. VACC and Dwyers have stayed loyal to each other for 80 years, not a bad effort.”
“Regional members will always remain spe-cial to VACC.”
Throughout the Q&A session, Mr Mckenna and both Kevin and Anthony Dwyer touched on a variety of subjects, including some of the business’s employees.
“I believe there’s about 11 current staff who have 10 years of service or more - what do you think has been the success for their longevity and for staying here for so long?” Mr Mckenna said.
“We decided we were going where the world is going, not where we’d love to think it was going,” Kevin Dwyer said.
“We’re realistic - we’ve been light on our feet.”
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
The Dwyers story started in 1898, when Jer-emiah Dwyer built and opened a small shop in Nicholson Street, Bairnsdale, where he operat-ed as a general blacksmith and farrier.
By 1908, Jeremiah had married Jane Giles, and his business was in full swing, with the building of buggies, jinkers, drays, wagons and carts keeping him busy.
In 1920, Jeremiah and Jane welcomed three children. Kathleen, the eldest, married Tom McMahon and had two children John and Micheal. John, the middle child, married Clare Suding and had two children, Kevin and Carmel.
In 1927, John Dwyer starts working with the family business on October 27, working for 43 years.
Disaster struck in 1929 with the Great De-pression hitting hard, people who owed money to Dwyers paid their bills with home grown fruits and vegetables.
By 1939, the range of cars in the Dwyer’s business was continuing to expand, however sales dipped after the start of WWII, which ended in 1946.
The family connection was maintained in 1955 when John’s son, Kevin Dwyer, started work in the spare parts department.
By 1969, Kevin Dwyer married Kay Jackson, from Sale, and the Nicholson Street site had become too small for the thriving business, so the decision was made to move to a new site on 93-101 Main Street Bairnsdale.
It was the end of an era in 1989, after the 93-101 Main Street site is sold and the busi-ness moves to part of the Errol Steward Ford site at 449 Princes Highway opposite the Bairnsdale Hospital.
In 1997, Lui Mosele retires after 48 years. He held a unique position at Dwyer’s, covering all four generations.
By 2000, Dwyers had celebrated 100 years in business and dealt with the “Millennium Bug”.
Fast forward to today, and Kevin’s son, Anthony, runs the business, handing over the reins in 2009.
Dwyers has opened a panel shop, Riv-iera Panels, and the Mazda, Hyundai and MG franchises, with a brand-new facility for Mazda and Hyundai expected to be  complete in November.

IMAGE: VACC president, Chris Hummer, Anthony and Kevin Dwyer, and VACC industry policy advisor Michael McKenna.

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