On August 11, 2022, Top 50 Indie Elite Garages celebrated its area manager Linda L’Enfant’s 25 years with the company.
Linda started as a sales assistant with Star Service Stations at their Odiham site in August 1997. In 2005, Elite Garages acquired the petrol station, and Linda joined the Elite team as the Odiham branch manager.
Linda was later promoted to area manager of Elite Garages’ branches in Odiham, Hook and Sutton Scotney. All three of Linda’s sites have developed over time and have been highly successful.
Elite Garages also acquired two petrol stations in Cornwall (Fal and Scorrier) in 2013 and 2018 respectively, and Linda was crucial in managing the new sites and introducing them into the Elite Garages group.
Over the years, Linda has been involved with many changes throughout the business including the addition of Post Offices and Hermes parcel delivery points, new suppliers and new shop designs. Her bosses say Linda has taken everything in her stride and is always very positive about new developments across the sites.
In May 2021, Linda helped make the decision to move the Elite Garages petrol stations across to Spar, which involved working on pricing, as well as interior and exterior store design.
At the end of 2021, Linda also had to manage the fuel crisis and panic buying of fuel in the UK. Despite the unexpected disruption, Linda and her team rose to the challenge to ensure the sites continued to run smoothly and safely. Linda and the team adapted well to their new roles in traffic management and took the opportunity to chat to the customers waiting in the queues. Linda was very positive throughout and said it was lovely to hear so much feedback praising the team.
This year, Elite Garages opened its first standalone convenience store in Shaftesbury, which became Linda’s fourth store. She worked closely with colleagues to select Morrisons as their franchise partner and selected a range of local products. The Morrisons Daily Shaftesbury store on January 13 and has been a great success.
Elite Garages has been a family business for over 60 years, and owner Richard Whittemore described Linda as a ‘star’ member of the Elite family. “Linda has certainly helped grow the Elite Garages group and it is wonderful to have such a positive and enthusiastic colleague,” he said.
Operations manager Ian Watmore has worked with Linda for over 13 years, and knew Linda from the late ’90s when she worked at the Star Service Station. Ian said: “Linda has a wealth of knowledge and understanding of petrol retailing and has seen a lot of change in the industry over the last 25 years. Her positive outlook in all aspects of the business has been fantastic, she relishes new initiatives and challenges, and implements them with great effect. Linda’s caring attitude towards her colleagues has earnt her the highest respect throughout the company.