The couple behind one of Bendigo's biggest car dealerships are stepping back after almost two decades at the wheel.
Paul and Sue DeAraugo have sold Bendigo Toyota, 19 years after taking on ownership of the business, and will move on at the end of the month.
Paul has been in the car business for more than three decades, having started out as a salesperson for Toyota in Melbourne at the age of 19.
In the 1980s he and Sue moved back to Bendigo and he became sales manager for Toyota in the city, before moving on to his own car yard. But in 2001, he was lured back to Toyota when the Bendigo dealership came up for sale.
"If you cut my arms, one arm will bleed Richmond Football Club and the other will bleed Toyota," Paul said.
Paul is semi-retiring from the car industry, but will still hold interests in some businesses.
Sue is moving on from the industry, but hopes to become more involved in the community, and indulge some more in her interests, including gardening and photography. "I'd probably like to be involved in more community projects in the future," she said.
The change is likely to bring some mixed emotions.
"Obviously there's a bit of sadness, but there's also excitement," Sue said.
She and Paul still loved coming to work and loved the people they worked with, she said, but "you've got to know when to go".
Paul added that getting older they saw some peers pass away, and he thought there came a point when it was "time to smell the roses".
"I might get a spot of fishing in," he said.
Sue said one of the best things about being in business so long was seeing people who entered as junior staff go on to leadership positions.
"One of the things we've really enjoyed is developing young leaders," Paul added.
The new owners were country people, Paul said, with good experience in the vehicle industry.
"They're obviously fairly community-minded people as well," Sue said.
Most of the people working at the dealership will remain, but the directors will change.
Paul said their colleagues at the dealership were "fantastic" and made it what it was.
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