The incredible 160-year history of a family-run motor group was the main theme as AFC Business took its business networking event on the road.
More than 100 businesspeople from across the region gathered at Hendy Group's state-of-the-art Jaguar Land Rover showroom in Christchurch.
AFC Business, the commercial arm of AFC Bournemouth, staged its November Breakfast at the dealership because Hendy Group recently became the club's official motor partner.
The early morning event, held in the Barrack Road showroom packed with top-of-the-range vehicles, was hosted by Bournemouth Town Centre BID's Paul Kinvig.
Keynote speaker, Hendy Group Chief Executive Paul Hendy, the fifth generation of his family to run the business, spoke of the recent acquisition of the Westover Group as the latest stepping stone in the upward transformation of the business.
In 2020 Hendy Group will have a turnover of £1 billion, making it the largest private company on the South Coast, with 65 dealerships representing 26 brands and employing 2,000 people.
It is a far cry from 1869 when the business was founded in Southampton, selling pushbikes and clothing, before car sales began in 1898. The Hendy name also has a long heritage in Bournemouth and Dorset.
Mr Hendy said: "Family values are everything for us - the sixth generation of Hendys is now also in the business - and we have a strong moral compass, which has served us well over 160 years. We are in a strong position, which allows us to make continued investments in the future.
"We remain inspired and passionate about our products, continue to take great satisfaction in our colleagues' career development and we make business decisions for the long term, not for short-term gain."
Talking of the partnership with the Cherries, he added: "Being associated with your local football club means you are associated with your local community - and the great thing about AFC Bournemouth is that they are very much a community club.
"Long may it continue that the club stays in the Premier League - it's great for the town, the area, and for us to be partnering with the club at this time is amazing. It's also great to see the players at the showrooms talking to our teams."
Mr Hendy also spoke of his pride in The Hendy Foundation - established this year to enable the firm to give something back and help the communities it serves - which has already donated £50,000 to good causes.
Amy Marks, the club's Partnerships Manager, said: "We were delighted to be invited to hold our networking event at this hugely impressive dealership. We work closely with Hendy Group on a range of campaigns and it was a privilege to see these excellent facilities first-hand."
AFC Business, the free-to-join business club with almost 1,800 members, is the engine for all the club's commercial activities.
It was launched in 2009 and gives members exclusive offers at AFC Bournemouth, access to events and is a great chance to meet local businesses.
AFC Business' five main partners are Bournemouth Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Global Reach, Hill Osborne and Strategic Solutions.
The next AFC Business event is the Christmas lunch at Vitality Stadium on Wednesday 4th December.
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