HEMLEY’S Smash Repairs has shut its roller door for the final time after 23 years of business.
Heath Hemley started his apprenticeship with the Stawell-based auto service at the age of 15 and then purchased the business five years later.
He said it was disappointing the business could not continue to serve the Stawell community.
“I have owned the business for 18 years and been a part of it for 23 years, so it has been a major part of my life,” he said.
“The reason I am closing has nothing to to do with the amount of work we were doing. It was just mainly all the dealings with insurance companies.
“We would send in quotes to them and they would come back to us cutting the cost of how much we needed to repair vehicles, so it was getting harder and harder to run the business.”
Mr Hemley learned the trade of repairing vehicles from scratch at Hemley’s Smash Repairs, fixing and painting any type of machinery from planes and fuel trucks to tractors and classic cars.
But now he plans to start a new chapter in his life at Broken Hill, where he will be working in the transport sector.
“I would like to thank everyone for their support,” Mr Hemley said.
“It has been good. It’s just sad that I have had the business for sale for the past six years, but no one has wanted it.
“It has gotten to the point where I have had enough.”
Hemley’s Smash Repairs is the latest in a string of town businesses to close in the past six months.
Popular home goods store Inika Imports closed in December, while Bill’s Health Food Shop and Our Shop On Main announced closures at the beginning of 2018.
Mr Hemley said he had noticed the trend and encouraged residents to support local businesses.
“I am a big believer in supporting local businesses,” he said.
“It’s hard when things shut and you do tend to look more and more out of town.
“Everyone needs to support each other a bit more and hopefully these businesses will stay open.”
Insurance Council Australia did not respond for comment by deadline.