Wednesday, January 30, 2013
For some couples it’s mutual friends, niche interests, or a case of ‘opposites attract’ which brings them together in a romantic union.
But for one Mundford couple it was a life-long love of Minis which saw their relationship accelerate and a unique business form on the outskirts of Watton.
Clare Pattison, 44, and Steve Parlour, 47, met three years ago when Clare was living in Essex, and Steve in his home town of Mundford.
Their passion for all-things Mini brought them to open a business together six months ago, the We Are Mini Mad garage on the industrial estate on Norwich Road.
There the pair sell, improve, and adore the typically British vehicle, with clients coming from across the country to share their love for the iconic car.
For Clare, a mum-of-five, it is the new-style BMW Mini Coopers which she is passionate about, describing it as a car like no other.
But for Steve, for as long as he can remember, it is the old-style Mini which has been a central part of his life.
His late father, Kenneth Parlour, worked on the old-style Minis all his life, and encouraged his son to do the same.
Steve says he grew up working on various versions of the car, and got his first one to work on aged just nine.
His father, a well-known character in Mumford, died in February 2008, and Steve said he had a real passion for Minis right up to the time when he died.
He said: “His passion for cars really was huge.
“If he was here to see what we have done, I know he would be very proud of us.”
The couple’s equal obsession for new and old Minis means that the pair are now running their own specialist Mini garage, catering for any need it has.
From repairs, to customising, the garage do it all.
Clare said: “It’s the only car as a woman which you can really get in and drive properly. And a car which can get you away from being a mum or a wife.”
Only six months in, and the two-person business, with the help of Steve’s teenage son, seems to be growing, with hopes of more staff, and a bigger client base in the next few months.
“It’s a life style thing. And it does really get you.”