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From mower blades to motor dealer supreme
A NEW biography has been released documenting the life of a man who went from mending lawnmowers to becoming the largest MG Rover dealer in the world.
Douglas Clark lives in Malta, but his book Belt and Braces tells of his extraordinary business success as a motor dealer in Worcestershire.
Born into poverty in Mustow Green, near Kidderminster, Mr Clark first showed his engineering and entrepreneurial skills when he began mending lawnmowers for neighbours as a child.
His business empire eventually grew to running 11 motor dealerships, generating a turnover of more than £60 million. He also established a local property empire of considerable value and when he retired in 2002, Mr Clark employed more than 450 people.
Mr Clark returned to Worcestershire to officially launch Belt and Braces at three book signing events and many old friends, former Clark’s employees and customers turned out to see him.
John Gywnne, aged 82, travelled from Gloucestershire for an emotional reunion with his former employer.
“It was lovely to see Doug again,” said Mr Gywnne.
“I worked for him for 14 very happy years, transporting vehicles, mainly to customers. I made many friends at Clark’s Motor Services, both staff and customers. I cherish some wonderful memories.”
Mr Clark’s business journey, which began in 1963, reached a turning point in 1982, when his company was appointed after-sales service agents for Austin Rover.
The firm went on to become the largest MG Rover dealer in the world, including dealerships in Kidderminster, Bromsgrove, Redditch and Rednal.
In 2000, Clark’s opened Honda Halesowen, its finest showroom and servicing base, and a VW dealership in Stourbridge followed as the jewel in the crown for the business empire.
Doug Clark’s biography, written by well-known writer Euan Rose, covers seven decades to 2010. It parallels what was happening in Mr Clark’s life alongside national and international events.
The book is now on sale at Webbs, Wychbold and West Hagley, priced £11.99, with proceeds from the first 1,000 books sold set to be donated to the music department at Chaddesley Corbett Endowed Primary School.
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