Enniskillen and Fermanagh will see the closure of one of its most iconic businesses with the news that T.P Topping will close its doors this summer.

The car garage, located on the Dublin road has been trading since 1931 and directors, Peter Little and Ronald Hurst, have conceded that it has not been an easy decision to make but that they felt it was “the right time to wind down the business”.

Speaking to the Impartial Reporter this week Mr. Little said that there was a great deal of “sadness” involved in making decision but that “it was time to let go”.

Mr. Little’s grandfather was involved in the initial establishment of the business and Mr. Little himself was the third generation of his family to run the business. He retired from the day to day operations at T.P Topping three years ago while fellow director Mr. Hurst retired last year.

“I am 70 now, and that tends to focus the mind,” Mr. Little said;

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the motor trade. A lot has changed over the years. Some of our staff have been with us for 40 years or more. They are great staff and we would like to think that with their skills that they will gain employment elsewhere,” he stated.

Reflecting on where the business, and indeed the motor trade industry stands now, Mr. Little said that things might have been different had both he and Mr. Hurst been younger:

“I think if we were both maybe twenty or thirty years younger we might look at things differently, we might look to re-invest and go again but we are at a different stage of life now. I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and grandchildren now.”

Mr. Little concluded by saying that the time was right for the business to close its doors.

“It really is just a generational thing. I am at retirement age and while it was obviously a difficult decision to make and a decision where there is a lot of sadness attached to it, we do feel it is the right time to let go.”

A statement from T.P Topping earlier this week said that it “was especially difficult to inform their loyal staff” of the closure.

In the statement Mr. Hurst said:

“However, we are confident that with the company’s assistance all staff will have secured suitable employment by the time the doors are finally closed in summer. The company had been very fortunate to have had such a committed workforce, many of whom have never worked anywhere else.”

Mr. Hurst went on to thank the company’s loyal customers, many of whom he said were friends who had done business with the firm over several generations.

There will be a sale of used and new cars in the coming months as well as a sale of Ford and Land Rover spare parts.

The company revealed that servicing of cars will continue until the end of June and that the property on the Dublin Road will be placed for sale towards the end of 2019.