E&B Trading was a family affair when Eric Williams launched it with support from his wife Beverly in 1987 – and two of their children have ensured that remains the case.
While founder and owner Mr Williams Sr remains in overall charge of the auto repair and service business on North Street in Hamilton, his sons Kyle and Yannis are heavily involved in its operations and ensuring it stays abreast of changing – and ever more complex – automotive technology.
Kyle, born the same year the business was launched, did an automotive course at Bermuda College after school and now runs E&B’s parts department, overseeing a vast inventory of thousands of parts.
“I always did have an interest,” he said of the family business. “Starting from middle school to high school I looked at it a little differently, as something I wanted to do.”
Older brother Yannis, a former insurance underwriter for XL in New York, joined in 2010 and heads the service department, as well as helping with marketing and the business side of E&B.
“I think we work pretty well, considering,” laughed Yannis, when asked about the family dynamic at work.
“I think by having the different roles it definitely helped because we are not constantly all day long [together].”
The business has evolved since Eric began offering auto electrical repairs and selling parts at his first premises on Market Lane in Pembroke.
Back then, he fixed electrical faults only, such as alternators, starters, horns and power windows.
Now E&B also does mechanical repairs and stocks what it describes as the “largest selection of alternators, starters and components on the island”.
Kyle said the company brings in parts from all over the world, including many from Japan, Korea, Europe, and the UK.
It can be challenging to get items quickly, particularly with ongoing post-pandemic supply chain issues, but E&B uses many different suppliers.
“We source anywhere where we can get them,” said Yannis.
Kyle said: “We carry a very, very wide range of things in different categories. It’s hard to put a number on it.”
Customers often come to E&B once warranties run out, for “aftermarket” parts, which can be much more cost-effective than going to a dealer for a part made by a specific vehicle maker.
And when a part simply can’t be obtained, the company’s highly trained technicians can often modify or fabricate as a temporary solution.
E&B Trading now has 18 staff, including three technicians doing auto electrical repairs, three technicians doing mechanical fixes and an apprentice.
Beverly semi-retired last year but still comes into the office to help out.
Yannis said customers, who usually come to E&B through word of mouth, appreciate the firm’s focus on value for money and fast turnaround.
“We can help you extend the life of your car,” he said. “We actually can typically rebuild alternators and starters, so people don’t have to buy a new one, sometimes for half the cost.
“That’s something that people will look for, especially if they have a ten-year-old car and don’t want to buy a new one.”
He said a crucial part of the job is staying on top of industry technology, meaning E&B now does A/C repairs and can scan cars to diagnose errors.
This spring, the family business will expand again, with the reopening of CYK Automotive body shop on the site of the old Woodlands Garage in Hamilton.
E&B stands for Eric and Beverly and, in keeping with tradition, the new venture is named after Yannis, Kyle and their elder brother Crenstant, an educator.