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Chris Price from Cromer Car Parts is retiring after 27 years

Released:
6.30 a.m. December 16, 2021

If your car was missing a part, Chris Price was your man.

No part was too rare track down. ONE 50Ampere hand-wired fuse for a Ford Capri? ONE Wallace and Gromit Parasol?

Mr. Price would find it.

Cromer Car Parts on Garden Street will officially close on December 22nd.
– Credit: Google Maps

Indeed, hae once also sorted orT Parts Per an amphibious vehicle that helps repair Cromer Pier after it has been cut in two from a runaway oil rig in 1993.

And if he didn’t have what you needed, it would be there by Thursday.

But now, after 27 years with his Cromer Car Parts business on Garden Street, a stone’s throw from the sea, Mr. Price, 65, is retiring.

A native of Coalville, Leicestershire, he started working in the auto trade at the age of 15.

“My mom got me a job in a clothing boutique and I thought I didn’t want to work there, so I went to the local Austin dealer,” says Mr. Price.

“I wasn’t in the mood for tank tops and bell bottoms.”

He later worked as a parts manager for Chrysler UK and then ran a factory.

In the meantime, he and his family came to Cromer for the summer vacation, where they had a trailer, and they often talked about how they’d like to retire in town.

Lively Cromer Beach on the hottest day of summer yet.  PICTURED: DENISE BRADLEY

Cromer Beach in July 2020
– Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

Instead of waiting for him to get older, Mr. Price decided to move there well before retirement age.

“I brought my wife and children here when they were little because I thought if I wait until I’m 55, not all families live in the same place.”

While on vacation in town, he had discovered an auto parts retail opportunity.

So the family moved to North Norfolk in 1994. At the same time Mr. Price still had the Leicestershire factory and after two years of moving back and forth he sold the factory.

Chris Price, 65, outside his Cromer Car Parts store on Garden Street.

Chris Price, 65, outside his Cromer Car Parts store on Garden Street. It officially closes on December 22nd.
– Photo credit: Daniel Hickey

For the first 10 years, the in-store business kept getting better. “Then you come to a plateau and it’s been on that plateau ever since,” says Price.

He had decided to open the shop on a pedestrian street because it was the second busiest street in town and people flocked to the beach every day.

“I was very happy with it. It gave me a living.

“When someone comes in and says there is nowhere to be found a part and you can find it for them, that’s a satisfaction.”

One summer everyone wanted a Wallace and Gromit umbrella. “They were hard to come by and I told people that there was a time I would place an order. It was the only time I had a line in the store.”

For the first 18 years, Mr. Price worked seven days a week. Then it went down to six days and last year “allowed itself” a five-day week.

The official last day of the store is December 22nd, but Mr. Price is hoping it will be ready by Friday (December 17th).

So, 27 years after moving into town for the first time to retire, he’s finally gotten to that point.

“I fulfilled the wish I wanted and am really looking forward to the next stage. I want to explore the area, places like Wells that I never had the time.

“I want to run to the beach and fiddle around. I want to go out and have fun. “

Christ Price outside of Cromer Auto Parts

Chris Price, who has headed Cromer Car Parts for 27 years, is looking forward to retiring after the store closes on December 22nd.
– Photo credit: Daniel Hickey

Chris’ top tips for caring for your car

“Maintain it and keep it clean,” he says.

“I always do a service every year before the TÜV. It’s better to get the little chores done early because if not, they’ll all build up and it can get very expensive.

“Instead of waiting, do the little chores as they come.”

Weird inquiries over the years

“I’ve had some weird ones, I’ve had people asking for fish.

“One day a boy came by to get herring. I said ‘herring?’ and he said, ‘Yes, fish?’

“I’ve had people ask about tubing for washing machines.

“A woman asked about an electric razor and I said it was an auto parts store. She said auto parts were men’s business, so she thought I could sell electric razors because men use them.”

Electric car charging

Electric car charging
– Photo credit: Robert Nickelsberg Getty Images

Effects of electric cars

“My take on electric cars is that they won’t be great until there is a way to standardize batteries so you can go to a battery swap instead of charging your car.

“We would have battery stations instead of gas stations.

“When you go to a battery station, you turn it up and take one off and then you pick up another.

“The main thing is to make them easily accessible. It could go and go again in ten minutes.

“This could be a brilliant system because people’s biggest concern is how far do I get with it?”

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