Iconic business rises from the ashes

There was a sense of shock in August of this year when the landmark business, Rice and Roddy Ltd closed for business after decades selling cars to the people of Dundalk.

There was a sense of shock in August of this year when the landmark business, Rice and Roddy Ltd closed for business after decades selling cars to the people of Dundalk.

Yet, a group of three former employees have said no to the recession and decided to re-boot a motor sales business on site.

Derek Malone, Noel Neary and Eamonn McCartan have over 75 years experience and were working at the car sales business before its dramatic collapse.

“It was a huge thing to go at the time,” says Derek, speaking from the premises on the Newry Road. “The three of us got together a hammered out a potential business. We believed that there was still a business there to be salvaged. We put together a plan and here we are.

“Key for us was getting a brand in, and Kia, who were formerly with the pre-existing business were hugely enthuiastic about having a outlet in the area. They were the automatic choice.

“We wanted to just stay with one brand at the start, as we didn’t want to bite off more then we could chew so to speak. We didn’t want to start too big, we wanted to test the water and to see how we get on. Kia still have the fantastic seven year warranty offer.”

The business has been open for two weeks now and is looking forward to the busy January period.

“We sold ten cars there in our first week,” says Derek, who also says retaining the name is very important to the success of the business. “We spoke with the Roddy family regarding keeping the name. It’s a great name and it’s what everyone knows it by. We are now called Rice and Roddy Motors.”

In the new year the government are bringing in a new registration plate system where cars bought in the first half of the year will be 131, while cars bought in the second half of the year will be called 132.

“The motor industry has been calling on this move for years and it means that it’s not all about selling cars in the first three months of year.”

So far the business has had great interest in what is a good news story among all the gloom of the recession.

“They say a recession is the best time to start up a business,” says Derek, who says all seven peopel working there were with the previous incarnation of the company before it closed, including three mechanic and a storeman. “We are very enthuiastic going forward, I’ll put it that way.”