Here at Sandy Lane Service Station, there’s going to be a bit of a change. As the kids start back at school and college, our very own Office Manager, Michelle, is heading off on her own educational adventure. Next month she starts training for a degree in adult nursing at Manchester Metropolitan University. We are all really proud of her!
Sadly for us this means she can’t work with us in the office anymore. After over eight years charming our customers, sorting out all our admin and keeping us all in line, she will be handing over the reins to Jennifer.
We thought it was time to say goodbye properly to Michelle, and introduce you all to Jennifer. So in a rare moment between phone calls, deliveries and car pick-ups we sat them down and asked them some questions. Here’s what Michelle had to say.
What were your first impressions of Sandy Lane when you arrived in July 2007?
I was a bit bemused to be honest! First of all we were working in a portacabin in front of the garage. Then it became clear that although I was employed as an admin assistant, there was no-one to assist – I was the only one doing the admin! Although we did have a computer then it wasn’t exactly well-used, and everything, including payroll and bookkeeping, was entered several times over by hand into different books. I had a really steep learning curve!
Why did you stay?
That’s really simple. Because it’s a great company to work for. I couldn’t work with nicer or more hard-working people. And I have so much respect for Tony who’s built up the business twice. I’ve learnt a lot from him that I know I’ll be able to apply as I move on with my career.
What‘s been the best bit of the job?
The people – Tony, the staff at Sandy Lane, and the customers. Many of our customers come back time and time again, and I have loved getting to know them. I’m even going to miss the delivery drivers dropping off parts – they are such a laugh.
One of the biggest challenges has been persuading Tony and Andrew to introduce IT, for example payroll and accounts packages. The guys are amazing with cars and vans, but not so keen on computers! But once we got the software they saw that what used to take a whole day could be done and dusted in 10 minutes!
Also, sometimes I’ve had to learn by making mistakes. Once I had to reprocess over half a year’s wages as I didn’t realise that I needed to add Tony and Andrew as Directors of the company. It couldn’t be amended but completely re-entered. I certainly learnt not to do that again!
Why are you leaving?
The kids have grown up and it’s now time for me to pursue my own career. I’m heading off to study adult nursing for three years at Manchester Metropolitan University. I still can’t quite believe I got a place – there were 500 of us going for 14 places. So, yes, I’m really chuffed. This year has been really hard – as well as working here at Sandy Lane I’ve completed an Access to Healthcare Course which gave me the equivalent of 3 A levels in Biochemistry, Biology and Health Studies. Plus I volunteered in the general surgery ward at Stepping Hill, where my skills in brewing up learnt at Sandy Lane went down very well with the patients! Oh, and I got my eldest through her A levels. After that, going to study full-time at Uni sounds like a breeze!
What will you miss at Sandy Lane?
Definitely the people. I’ve had such a great relationship with Tony and Andrew, and have a huge amount of respect for them, even when Andrew and I disagree about things (a lot!). Over the years Tony’s become not just a supportive boss but a friend too. And I’m going to miss all the customers who I’ve come to know really well. It has been a lovely place to work, and an interesting, varied job.
I just want to say “bye” to everyone I don’t get chance to see before I go. I’ve really enjoyed working with you, and getting to know you. But I know I’m leaving you in capable hands.
We are really going to miss Michelle. But, before she left she made sure we had a fantastic replacement. So next week we’ll introduce you to Jennifer.
Jen is the the new Office Manager who you’ll speak to on the phone when you ring up, and meet when you drop your car off. So, when you call, say hello to her and introduce yourself.
If you’d like your car to be looked after by a local, independent garage with a close-knit friendly team like us, just get in touch.