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Cotter and Stevens

June 8, 2020 June 2020 No Comments

Cotter and Stevens manger Jim Clark thought that  the lockdown would provide a nice break, however with only three days without a call out this proved to be have been wishful thinking. Servicing a huge rural area where electricity, water pumps, filtration systems and milking machines, are essential provided a steady stream of calls for the Cotter and Stevens staff who were all on call. 

Cotter and Stevens was formed  in 1949 by electricians Gordon Cotter and Bob Stevens who had moved to Martinborough from Wellington. Their first workshop was in Jellicoe Street where their telephone number was 54. A work docket from the time was for fixing Mrs Mangin’s radio at a cost of two pounds ten shillings.   

From Jellicoe they moved to Kitchener street in the building which is now occupied by Ray White land agents and Toast Martinborough. With a main street location electrical goods were able to be offered. Toasters, irons, carpet cleaners, GEC refrigerators and Gulbranson radios and, later, television sets were advertised. 

A 1951 advertisement for fluorescent lighting offered a weeks free trial of the new lighting. Another advert suggested an  automatic potato peeler  as a Christmas gift.  

With the coming of television the company added black and white TV sets to their stock, both for sale or as rentals. The demand was so great that there was a waiting list. They also erected a huge number of aerials  some being up to forty feet high to catch the weak signal of the time. 

Jim’s father Graham Clark joined the company as an apprentice in 1951and bought shares in 1958 . Jim followed his father’s footsteps joining as an apprentice in 1978 becoming a shareholder himself in   1984. Graeme retired in 1993 and Jim took over the management of the company. 

A major contract for the company was for the extending the electric power supply to the Cape Palliser lighthouse in 2000. By this time, with the building boon being experienced, the company had rapidly grown with a number of new staff and apprentices being taken on . Space had become a real problem. Good fortune came in 2004 when the former Wairarapa Electricity premises in Jellicoe became available – and was quickly bought.

The days of selling irons and toasters are now well passed. These days the  focus is on installation and servicing, both commercial and residential, pumps, farm equipment, milking machines, filtration systems  etc. 

The latest  addition to the company’s  service is the selling, installing and servicing of heat pumps. Cotter and Steven have three experienced heat pump experts and three apprentices working full time on this fast expanding facet of the company’s services. Providing a local heat pump sales and expert service is already being appreciated with a recent major contract completed the for the installation of twenty eight heat pumps at one location. 

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