New HQ for Kettering air conditioning experts as £1.5 million workshop opens
The centre will be a garage, workshop and training facility
A family firm that started as a one-man automotive operation 20 years ago has transformed a Kettering site into a specialist hub for car air conditioning systems.
Bee Cool, founded by David Fry, began from a base in Higham Ferrers, moved to Burton Latimer, expanded to Kettering and due to business growth now has its new HQ in Northfield Avenue.
Employing 11 staff, the new centre will offer air conditioning (A/C) expertise from run-of-the-mill family cars to Formula GT Race Cars, as well as MOTs, repairs and servicing.
Bee Cool group chairman and founder David Fry said: "It's a £1.5 million investment and it's been a lot of hard work.
"I've gone from a one-man-band to this.
"We have 11 employees, 16 vehicle repair bays as well as offices, and an in-house workshop where we make prototypes.
"Before I contracted it out, but I bought the welders and we can do it all here.
"We are fully trained, licensed, and insured to work on all aspects of vehicle A/C systems including Electric Vehicles (EV) and Hybrid Vehicles.
"Whether you have a family run-around, or a £1 million Formula GT Racecar and everything in-between, including farmers tractors, HGVs and large plant machinery we do it all."
Bee Cool's journey started in 2001 when Mr Fry spotted an emerging gap in the automotive market after he became the owner of his first luxury car - a Vauxhall Omega MV6.
He was enjoying his motoring experience, until the hot weather when he realised his A/C was broken and despite working and repairing cars since a teenager, he needed help.
After several visits to many garages, he was met with frustrated faces and shrugging of shoulders.
Two visits to the Vauxhall main dealer and with a £1,000 bill, Bee Cool was born.
In 2007, the business expanded offering a mobile service to visit retail customers both at home, and their place of work, and servicing trade and motorsport clients.
Moving from Mr Fry's home town of Higham Ferrers to a workshop in Burton Latimer, they doubled their capacity with a move to Kettering in 2015.
In 2017 Bee Cool Performance & Motorsport was founded specialising in servicing and maintaining high performance marques such as Ferrari, Bentley, and Lamborghini being the only UK sales and servicing Dealer for Keating Supercars.
In the new HQ as well as repairs and servicing, skilled engineers can provide bespoke pipe work, designing prototypes for cooling systems for some of the biggest names in the car industry including Jaguar Land Rover, Tata, The Geely Group (London Taxi Co., Lotus, Saab UK), Mclaren Cars, and David Brown Automotive.
Keeping it in the family, Mr Fry works alongside son-in-law Brett Hay who is operations director. Even grandson Harley, 17 months, is motor mad with his first word being 'car'.
Unveiling a plaque in the showroom to mark the official opening, Philip Hollobone MP praised Bee Cool and Mr Fry for his business acumen and entrepreneurial skills.
He said: "It is an honour to open Bee Cool's centre of excellence here right in the heart of Kettering. It is an amazing story and an example to all small businesses.
"To expand in the teeth of the pandemic is incredible."
Bee Cool's expansion will also allow management of the Bee Cool Air Conditioning workshop franchises.