News

It’s time to retire

By Country News

During World War II rationing in 1947, three brothers were approached to take on a Shepparton dealership for McCormick International, which became known as Taig Brothers.

Established by Alf, Norm and Ron Taig, the agricultural and trucking business stayed a family-owned business through Alf’s son John Taig, who bought his father and uncles out in 1988.

Now at age 75, John will take down the Taig Bros sign on February 1 when the business is rebranded as North East Isuzu Shepparton.

Starting with the business in 1966, Mr Taig’s first passion was for sales.

‘‘I went into sales when I turned 20 — travelling all the districts selling machinery and tractors and trucks because then we were also agricultural dealers, not just trucks,’’ he said.

Seeing Taig Brothers struggle and thrive while adapting to the new millennium, Mr Taig said at the time he took over the business the industry had changed.

‘‘In those days we were more agricultural than motor trucks — we sold heaps and heaps of tractors because International was a fairly popular label and this area was massive in dairy farms, orchardist, graziers, wheat farmers so it was a very wealthy area,’’ he said.

In 1984 Taig Brothers became solely a truck dealership, losing the agricultural business after International Harvester went into receivership in the United States.

Mr Taig expanded the Taig Brothers name to Albury and Wagga Wagga from 1989 to 1991.

‘‘1990 was a horrible year, I sold one new truck in six months and if it wasn’t for a deal that I did with a New Zealand dairy company, I don’t know that I could have survived it,’’ he said.

Mr Taig said 1994 to 1999 were filled with good memories, with Iveco and Isuzu becoming the core of the business.

‘‘We’ve been with Isuzu for 20 years and they have grown — my first year I think it was about 10 trucks sold to now we’ve got a target of up to 80 trucks.’’

Mr Taig said as for himself, ‘‘the time has come’’.

‘‘I’ve enjoyed just about every minute of it, there’s been times when I’ve thought ‘what the hell am I doing here’ but as a whole you can’t beat it,’’ he said.

Mr Taig described his retirement as ‘‘bittersweet’’.

‘‘I’m bitter about not seeing the customers because they’re your friends, you deal with them on a regular basis and you know who they are and what they do — the sweet part is getting away from the franchise, running a franchise these days is very tough, it’s hard work.

‘‘I’ve got good staff, really good people who are very loyal and have been extremely good for me and the franchise.’’

—Madeleine Caccianiga