Graham Betts is no stranger to these parts. After a varied career, he’s been very proactive in the business world, developing four businesses and sponsoring the New England Outdoor Recreation Expo. All this, while maintaining a balance with his close family life.
How long have you lived locally?
I have lived in the region most of my life. I was born and bred in Moonbi. I only ever left my hometown before I got married. That was in the early years, when I went to work in the shearing sheds in New Zealand. I also spent some time as an interstate truck driver before joining the Police Force.
I worked as a Police Officer in Sydney, Lithgow and Tamworth for seven years. Then I became involved in cars, just after I got married. My wife Jan and I chose to raise our family in Moonbi.
Tell us about your family …
I am married with three daughters – Tanya, Donna and Tara. Jan and I have been married for thirty-four years. Tanya and Tara are both actively involved in the business, while Donna has started controlling the customer service /follow up side of the business.
I have a beautiful granddaughter named Willow, who just recently turned one, and another grandchild due in October. They live in Sydney, so I take every opportunity to go and visit them. They just recently came home for Tanya’s birthday.
Tanya built a house in Armidale seven years ago, and Tara is currently building.
What businesses do you own?
I became the General Manager of New State Motors in 1995. I had the opportunity to purchase the business in 2001, and I changed the name from New State Motors to Graham Betts Holden on takeover in September 2001.
September 1 marks the ninth year in my own business. In 1995 I purchased new premises in Uralla to make more room for our detailing department and new car storage, which is now the Caravan & Marine Centre.
This side of the business is growing bigger and bigger each year and is now the biggest caravan centre in the North West / New England Area. We are now dealers for A’van Campers, Caravans and Motor homes, Sunland Caravans, Road Star Caravans, Compass Caravans, Regal Caravans, Kara Kar Horse Floats, Savage Boats and Suzuki Marine Motors.
In February this year we opened our motorcycle centre, just off the new and used car yard at our Armidale site.
We also own NRMA Armidale.
What has it been like over the years juggling parenting and business?
I have always had time for my girls. My youngest is now 24, so they have all grown up and have their own lives. But I am always there for them.
Exciting things to come …
We always have something new happening, or a new product hitting the market.
We have a brand new Commodore coming out in September. It’s very exciting, and we are already getting lots of inquiries about it.
We get involved in local events too. The next big event is the New England Outdoor Recreation Expo in October. Graham Betts Holden is the major sponsor. This will be expo number two, and it promises to be a huge event. We have all the big names exhibiting at the show.
How is your new motorbike shop going?
It’s going well, thanks. Our grand opening was on 19 and 20 of March. The showroom is next door to our Holden dealership in Rusden Street.
We are now able to offer a large range of motorcycle accessories, including clothing, helmets, off-road parts, custom motorcycle parts and more. We stock a good range of each type of product, as we understand the different requirements of different riders.
We sell Kawasaki, Husqvarna Motorbikes and Cam-am Quads and have a full range of apparel and riding gear. If any of your readers have dads that love to ride, than they should pop in to find a suitable gift for Father’s Day.
What does your wife Jan do for a living?
Jan runs NRMA in Armidale. She has been there for ten years. I get to see her quite often; the NRMA office is just a hop, skip and a jump away, as it is next door to the Holden dealership.
What do you do in your leisure time?
Jan and I love to take our 23’6” Roadstar Magnifique caravan over to The Horse Shoe Caravan Park in South West Rocks. We have been going there for years. We love having BBQs with other visitors to the park and hearing all their interesting caravanning stories. The information comes in handy now that we have the Caravan Centre in Uralla.
You can never know enough about a product. South West Rocks is the best place in the world to me and obviously a lot of New Englanders agree, because we always run into familiar faces.
Favourite television show?
I’m really too busy to watch TV, but I’ve always loved The Paul Hogan Show. You just can’t go past good Australian humour.
Your ultimate retirement plan?
I may semi-retire one day, but I really hope to remain involved in the business for as long as possible.
As Father’s Day approaches, what are your fondest moments with your daughters?
As a family unit, we had a lot of holiday time together. We used to take regular breaks to Manly, Port Macquarie and Coolangatta. They were all good times. Our family trips to Fiji and Bali were particularly memorable.
Your tip to other fathers?
Always listen, never switch off, be available.
Thank you Graham.