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Meet the MD: Paul Barrett

PUBLISHED: 15:38 31 October 2014 | UPDATED: 10:45 03 November 2014

Paul Barrett

Paul Barrett

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

The managing director of family run Barretts Motor Group in Canterbury on business partnerships, bikes and BMWs

Tell us a bit about you

I was born in Canterbury and have lived here all my life except while I was at 
school and university. I am married 
to Patsy and we have two grown-up daughters, Kathryn and Alicia. We 
live in Wickhambreaux and have done 
so for 20 years.

I am a Kent Ambassador and I am also involved with several business economic partnerships. I chair C4B Canterbury for Business am a Board Member of KMEP the Kent & Medway Economic Partnership and a Business Representative on SELEP the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

I am a trustee of the Canterbury Cathedral Trust. The Marlowe Theatre Development Trust and the Kent Surrey 
& Sussex Air Ambulance Trust.

I am also a Corporation Member (governor) of Canterbury College 
(a Further Education College).

Tell us about your motor business

Barretts Motor Group was formed 112 
years ago, in 1902, by my great grandfather. We acquired BMW in 1999 in Canterbury and opened Broad Oak Ashford in 2004.

The company has six franchises, 
BMW, MINI, Jaguar, Land Rover, 
Honda and Citroen in 10 locations 
in Ashford and Canterbury.

What are you driving?

I have always loved cars and at the 
moment I’m driving a BMWi3, a BMW i8 and a Jaguar F Type R. If money was 
no object I’m afraid my dream car is 
rather predictably a LaFerrari, a limited edition hybrid supercar which I believe costs around £1 million.

Plans for future expansion?

Business is currently good and we 
are planning significant investment 
in new premises as well as extending 
our seven-day opening hours to 
improve customer experience.

Advice to someone entering 
the industry?

It’s a good industry to work in and far removed from the ‘motor trade’ sometimes portrayed on TV. It’s highly professional with many different skill types required, and we recruit young people through both apprenticeships and at graduate entry.

Best piece of business advice?

Business is a long-term mission, 
it’s not just about short-term gains.

What makes a good boss?

Be fearless and don’t be afraid to try something new or different. Respect and appreciate your employees and be inclusive – everyone is part of the team.

Recognise efforts and give feedback, be open and truthful and allow colleagues to make decisions for themselves.

Your most prized possession?

My racing cycle, it’s a carbon fibre Storck with electronic gear change and I love it.

How is your work/life balance?

I am a very keen amateur cyclist. I ride every Saturday for at least 100km with our local club Canterbury Velo Club of which I am one of the founding members. I have completed a number of long-distance rides, notably Canterbury to Rome raising funds for Canterbury Cathedral and Olympia 
to the Olympic Stadium in London O2O 
in 2012 in aid of the Air Ambulance.

I like going out with friends and 
I do enjoy a bit of gardening when 
I’m not on the bike!

Favourite pubs or restaurants?

I like our local pub, The Rose in Wickhambreax and we go to Wheelers 
in Whitstable High Street, I love the food and the informality of the place. I’m a 
big Indian food fan so we often go to 
the local Indian in Wingham, The Salma. 
I am also very impressed with The Ambrette in Canterbury, which uses 
local ingredients with an Indian twist.

What did you have for breakfast?

Porridge – you can’t beat it for keeping 
you going until lunchtime. I like mine 
with banana and honey. n

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