Back in 1907 John A Payne began repairing bicycles in the front room of his mothers home in Castle Street Hinckley. His fledgling business grew quickly and he soon moved his workshop to the yard of the Crown and Anchor pub in Castle Street.
It is believed it was Mr Payne who brought the first car to Hinckley, a French built De Dion Bouton. As more cars arrived in the town his reputation and mechanical expertise necessitated a move to larger premises, so in 1911 he moved to his garage premises in Hill street Hinckley, where his father ran a barbers shop.
During the First World War he and his fellow workers combined car repairs with the making of munitions to aid the war effort.
It was in 1922 when he was first invited to take up the Ford Motor Company Franchise for the Hinckley area, selling both Ford cars and tractors. Almost 100 years later, the Ford franchise is today still held by the same family run company.
For many years throughout the middle of the century, in addition to cars, Fordson agricultural equipment and tractors formed a major part of the business, with many local farmers and councils relying on Paynes for their supply and repair.
When in around 1930 Ford stopped building the "Model T", demand was still so great that in order to satisfy their own full order books Paynes had kits of parts shipped from the Ford plant in Manchester and assembled the famous "T" themselves, here in Hinckley.
With business continuing to grow, in 1934 the Hill Street garage was redeveloped and extended to include new offices above the workshops and a car showroom was built on the corner of Hill Street and Castle Street.
In 1938 Mr Payne acquired land between Watling street and Coventry Rd in Hinckley and the first workshop buildings were erected on what still remains our headquarters to this day.
However, with world war 2 looming, and before the workshops could be fully utilised, the entire site was commandeered by the Ministry of Aircraft Production and was used by them for the duration of the war. It was 1946 before the site was handed back to Paynes by the Ministry allowing further development of the site to take place.
As the business grew quickly following the war, John was joined in the firm by other family members, including his 4 sons and son in law, and in 1947 Mr Rowland Lee was invited to join the company as Managing Director. Then in 1948 Paynes garages became a limited company shortly before John Payne eventually retired in 1949.
Car Sales and Paynes Insurance continued to operate from the Hill Street site while the after sales operations and commercial vehicle sales were centred on the new Watling Street site, where in 1965 a dedicated Commercial Vehicle workshop was built and Paynes (Heavy Commercials) Ltd, as it was then called, was opened to better support the growing number of commercial vehicle customers. Even then the commercial vehicle workshop operated 24 hrs a day throughout the week, just as it does today.
When Roland Lee then retired he was succeeded by John Paynes' eldest son, Joe Payne and to this day the business is still owned by the Payne family, with John Paynes' Grand Children and Great Grand Children now involved with the day to day running of the business.
Car sales were moved from Hill Street to Watling Street in 1991 when a new car showroom and offices were built and the business continues to develop at Hinckley and includes Car, Van and Truck Sales & Service departments, an Accident Repair Centre, a Tyre and Exhaust Centre and a specialist Parts department. With franchises now held by the Company including Ford and Isuzu.