A CAR parts supplier will continue growing under new owners, one of its former bosses has told The Northern Echo.

Steve Goodfellow says DMFX Limited will flourish as part of Group Auto following a takeover deal.

The Darlington-based business, set up by Mr Goodfellow alongside fellow ex-Ford worker Steve Henry more than two decades ago, is known to customers across County Durham, Teesside and Teesdale.

However, it will today begin a new era under the official guise of Group Auto, which will build on a long-term association with the operator.

Despite the change, Mr Goodfellow says the business will retain its near 30-strong team and continue providing people with services they have become accustomed to.

“This business is not broken, it is solid,” he told the Echo, “but this announcement is sad for us because it’s our baby.

“We are proud of what we have achieved and have always followed the rule that we are in business to provide a service to customers and have never differentiated on what people are driving.

“They could come here with a Mercedes-Benz or a Reliant Robin.

“We’ve got customers in Teesside, Durham and the Dales, we have farming people coming in, we deal direct with the top supplier names in the industry, and we have always supported local businesses too.

“Plumbers, vets, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, we have offered to help them run their business.”

Mr Goodfellow, whose last day at the firm was yesterday (Tuesday, December 12) said DMFX will go on serving generations of customers needing parts for four and two wheels, highlighting how young children now return to the business as fathers.

He also praised the firm’s workforce, which he and Mr Henry have moulded, saying the attitude and knowledge of staff will not wane under the changes.

He said: “I remember asking one lad when he came in if he remembered me giving him a little model of a Michael Schumacher Ferrari.

“That was about 15 years ago. It’s all about building those relationships.

“Some of the lads who work here first came at 14 on a Saturday and they are now like the Manchester United of this industry.

"We have trained them to do things properly, they are a great group of lads.”

Mr Goodfellow and Mr Henry began in business back in the late 1980s as locksmiths in their S&S Autolocks venture, which was founded to help thwart car thieves in the days before alarms and transponders.

After renting a small area of space from Darlington Motor Factors, the duo eventually bought the business and set about increasing its market presence.

It now offers a huge parts inventory for a host of marques and previously helped supply a massive generator to Kosovo through an agent in a Ministry of Defence project.

Mr Goodfellow says it has also supported car and bike racers, as well as Darlington FC and Darlington Railway Athletic FC, with its name appearing on the latter’s shirts.

“The business has been built on the three Es,” added Mr Goodfellow.

“They are efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. We are going to miss our customers, and we’d like to pass on our gratitude to them for all the years they helped us by shopping with us.”