Keith Helland with sons Mark and Jeff at Helland’s Wholesale Cars.
Keith Helland with sons Mark and Jeff at Helland’s Wholesale Cars.

Helland family put in spotlight

IN 1970 the world witnessed the death of Charles de Gaulle, the introduction of platform shoes, pet rocks, the disco, along with the first flight of the Boeing 747 from London to Australia.

It was also the year the Apollo 13 exploded and our Prime Minister was John Gorton.

We drove a Valiant Pacer or Charger, maybe a Holden Monaro, or the Ford Cortina.

You may have bought a car from Helland's Wholesale Cars in North Ipswich, which also started in 1970.

Helland's Wholesale Cars was started by Keith and Hazel Helland based at 33 Downs St, North Ipswich where it still successfully operates today.

"Dad was a mechanic and then joined the army for five years, and when he got out (of the army) he started a car yard in Riverview for around 18 months. From there he moved to North Ipswich, where he developed the business," Jeff Helland said.

In the early days people where buying the popular cars of the time like the Holden models or the Fords. The business has always sought to stock affordable and reliable cars.

The Hellands have two sons, Mark and Jeff, who are both actively involved in the business.

It is a family business in every sense of the word. Today, Keith and Hazel are still involved in the business with sons Mark, looking after buying stock, and Jeff in sales.

According to Jeff Helland, customers are like family as well. While the boys grew up around motor vehicles and the business, Mark made the direct move into the family business after completing school, having learned the "trade" from his father.

Jeff Helland left school and moved into butchery.

"I was a butcher for 10 years and after that went to work for Bryan Byrt Ford for about two and half years. I wanted to have a trade behind me and then I moved into car sales. I think the customer service side of butchery certainly gave me the skills I needed for car sales. I then joined the family business," he said.

Helland's Wholesale Cars sells a range of commercial and passenger vehicles. Mr Helland said that the upper limit is $40,000. "Second-hand cars are as popular as ever. I think that new cars are just out the price range of a lot of ordinary Australians."

He is proud of the fact that the business has a lot of repeat business. "We get customers who come back to get their next car, but we are also seeing children of families coming now, and that is because of good, old-fashion service," he said.

Helland's Wholesale Cars offers a finance facility; they work with brokers who source finance for clients.

"We also have extended warranty for our vehicles.

The vehicles come with the statutory warranty and I give a further 12 months, but we have three or five-year extended warranties available.

We offer after-sales service. We do care about our customers after the car is sold," Mr Helland said.

As a family, they are aware of the attitude towards used car sales people and have ensured they operate a professional, friendly and competitive organisation. Given the years of operation they are doing something right.

"If a customer is looking for a particular vehicle we will do the searching to get it." Mr Helland said that he still enjoyed the time when customers came to collect their vehicle.

Helland's Wholesale Cars are open 8am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am to 1pm Saturday and can be contacted on 3812 1214.

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