Strong family ties have helped one firm survive the test of time.
Brothers Alan and Jeff Cockburn are just about to celebrate 25 years as partners in their own motor-trade business.
They launched Cockburn Auto Electrics on September 1, 1987, at premises in Lochlands Industrial Estate, Larbert.
Despite being slightly off the beaten track, the company’s expertise and reputation for providing excellent customer service, saw business boom.
Eight years ago they moved to a more prominent location in nearby Stirling Road, Larbert, where they’ve been ever since.
The pair admit that they’ve not always seen eye-to-eye, but believe being brothers has helped make their business stronger.
Jeff (47) said: “There is no getting away from the fact that it is hard work being family and working side-by-side every day, but we’ve always allowed the other one to speak their mind. That’s been important – and surviving this long shows it must be the right way to run a business.”
The brothers grew up in Bantaskine, attending Falkirk High and when Alan left school, aged 15, he went straight into a job with Falkirk Autos as an apprentice auto electrician. He served his time there before going to a similar company where he spent the next nine years.
Jeff started off with a Saturday job at that firm, before leaving school and going through his own apprenticeship.
But they realised that they wanted to work for themselves and 25 years ago took the big step of setting up Cockburn Auto Electrics.
Totally independent, they offer a full range of auto electrical diagnostic and repair services for any make of car or vehicle.
Jeff, of Falkirk, added: “Nowadays cars are much more complicated than they were when we started out. Technological advances have been huge and cars have lots of different electronics to run their systems. We deal with everything, including engine management, fuel injection, ABS braking, airbag systems and air conditioning.
“That means we need to continually invest in specialised equipment and training for our staff to keep up with all the changes.”
Alan (54), of Carron, said: “It used to be that you could repair a car with a screwdriver and a test lamp, but everything is computerised now and we have to be able to diagnose faults and repair them for our customers.”
Five staff are currently employed by the firm, including foreman Colin Lambert who has been with them 23 years.
Jeff said: “Every time the companies bring out a new model of car, it is more advanced and we have to be able to deal with all the changes. It means things are never dull.”