Why leaving London behind has been of benefit
It is fair to say that Nicholas Mee’s working life has been dedicated to the Aston Martin marque. He joined the company in 1976 and rose to become head of its key London sales operation before leaving in 1991, shortly after which he founded his eponymous company in Queen’s Gate Place Mews, South Kensington.
Rapid expansion of the business prompted a move to a 6500 square foot, purpose-built garage in Shepherd’s Bush a few years later, and the subsequent opening of a showroom in the nearby Goldhawk Road that became a Mecca for Aston Martin fans from around the world.
In May, however, that Aston Mecca shifted to the decidedly more rural surroundings of Lord Salisbury’s Hatfield Park estate in Hertfordshire, where Nicholas Mee and Co Ltd now operates out of a complex of 250-year-old barns mixed with sympathetic new builds on a two-acre site that has freed the business from the drawbacks of London.
“In London, we were always constrained by traffic, parking, a shortage of space and the difficulty of finding a stretch of road where a prospective client could drive a car properly,” explains Mee.
“Here, we have great test routes on our doorstep, room for 40–45 cars, an eight-ramp, four-building workshop and plenty of outside area for race shuttles, transporters and so on.
“The move has enabled us to future-proof the business by being less reliant on sales and enabling us to extend our service, repair and restoration facilities – we are now a destination for Aston Martin enthusiasts, rather than being a place they come to in a day packed with other meetings and distractions. The difference is huge,” he says.