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End of an era .. Lance and Sharon Doran say goodbye to their 38-year-old business, Lance Doran Automotives. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

The end of an era was marked last Friday as Lance and Sharon Doran officially said goodbye to their well-known Oamaru business, Lance Doran Automotives.

Many friends gathered at the garage to celebrate with the couple over drinks and nibbles at the France St garage.

Mr Doran started the business on March 1, 1980.

Most people the Dorans had spoken to were happy for the couple, although plenty were sad to see the couple go.

“We have lots of messages and good wishes, so that’s lovely,” Mrs Doran said.

The Dorans had customers who had been loyal to the business since it opened the doors.

“We’ve got customers here that started with us 38 years ago,” Mr Doran said.

The couple had also made plenty of good friends through the business.

“A lot of them aren’t only customers – they are friends,” Mr Doran said.

Mrs Doran believed it was loyal customers and good staff that had helped the business flourish over the years.

The couple both wanted to pass on the business because they were ready to relax and retire.

They had no specific plans for retirement, but it was possible the couple might do some travelling in their camper van.

“We’ll probably just retire and relax a wee bit and play it by ear,” Mr Doran said.

South Canterbury Hyundai dealer principal Amos Wheeler will be taking over the business.

Mr Wheeler said he was excited to be able to continue the legacy Mr and Mrs Doran had left behind.

The Dorans wanted to thank everyone who contributed to 38 memorable years at Lance Doran Automotives.

“We just want to thank all of our loyal customers and the staff,” Mrs Doran said.