John Taig retires the Taig Bros name

By Madeleine Caccianiga

During the post-World War II rationing period in Australia, three brothers were approached in 1947 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 continued as a family-owned business when Alf’s son John bought out his father and uncles in 1988.

Now, aged 75, Mr Taig recalled his years in business as he took down the Taig Bros sign for the last time.

The business will be rebranded under the new ownership of North East Isuzu Shepparton on February 1.

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, orchardists, graziers, wheat farmers — so it was a very wealthy area,’’ he said.

Then, in the 1970s with the massive inflation of the Gough Whitlam era, Mr Taig said the business would get new prices for trucks every month.

‘‘It was very difficult because you just couldn’t quote anyone,’’ he said.

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

Mr Taig expanded the name to Albury and Wagga Wagga in 1989 to 1991 after buying out the International dealer and parts and service businesses.

‘‘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.

Moving on from the recession time, Mr Taig said 1994 to 1999 were filled with good memories.

‘‘They were good years for me and the business, and International was taken over by Iveco, so whilst we came out of the recession pretty bruised and battered, we came out standing,’’ he said.

Mr Taig said Iveco and Isuzu became and still were the core strength 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 ... now we’ve got a target of up to 80 trucks,’’ he said.

‘‘And about three or four years ago we were approached to take on the Scania parts and service dealership, which has also been good.’’

As for himself, Mr Taig said ‘‘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,’’ he said.

‘‘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 very loyal and have been extremely good for me and the franchise.’’