Arty Strother ran a garage on this site for almost 30 years. After returning from World War II he bought a house (through the rehabilitation programme) next to the present garage and in 1947 accepted the offer of a job from Doug Mattson who had just built a new garage on the corner of Swanson and O’Neills Rd. After working there for six months he started his own business behind his house. He had started building a shed but before the roof went on he had received a big job for Judd & Harisson Carriers – the gearbox on Wally Judd’s Fargo truck. While working on the gearbox it started to rain so a tarpaulin was put over the shed roof.
In 1949, after two years of working at home, Arty imported a Nissan hut from England and erected it on his vacant section. A Ford specialist and A-grade mechanic, he joined the MTA (Motor Trade Association), thus being entitled to trade discount on parts.
In 1966, after buying the section next door, Arty and wife Ngaire had plans drawn by builders Bonner & Gill for a service station, rest room and also a takeaway bar, which was at that time a very innovative concept. The enterprise had a grand opening and many locals, including the bank manager, celebrated into the small hours. The business was named Strother’s Scenic Service Station, Swanson.
The business was sold in 1976 to a succession of owners starting with Abbot and Wackrow, followed by Baker and Beard Holdings, Stevenson and Jugum, Bartiluvich Holdings and Berry Messeter for 10 years during which time it changed from Mobil to Challenge. Through the changes, one constant factor was Margaret Thomas, employed in a secretarial position for 20 years at the garage.
Linda Jujnovich owned the land and buildings until December 2003.
Challenge Service Station is now operated by the Singh family.
Rugged Determination, p152