Dog specialist Holybrooks is in no doubt – when it comes to small vans, the Mercedes-Benz Citan is the runaway leader of the pack.
The Reading-based company, which offers high-quality dog walking services, as well as outdoor training courses and private tuition, has just taken delivery of three new vehicles from Dealer Group Rygor Commercials.
Smartly finished in an updated version of Holybrooks’ striking livery, the Long-bodied vans feature optional air-conditioning systems. Their cargo areas were sprayed with durable, easy-cleaned Line-X coatings after which each van was fitted with three compartments and privacy dividers, by Barjo Cages & Guards, of Wokingham, which allows it to carry up to three dogs in comfort and safety.
It may be the smallest commercial vehicle ever to wear a three-pointed star, but the Citan is a big winner at the pumps. Fuel-saving BlueEFFICIENCY measures fitted as standard include the ECO start/stop function, low rolling resistance tyres, and optimised alternator and battery management systems. The result, in the case of the 90 hp Citan 109 CDI model chosen by Holybrooks, is outstanding economy of up to 65.7 mpg in the combined cycle.
A flexible, competitively-priced Agility finance package, and the extended, workshop opening hours operated by the customer-focused Service team at Rygor’s branch in Reading were also key factors behind the decision of Holybrooks’ proprietor Helen Tuthill to switch from her previous van brand.
The three Citans replace a pair of similar-sized vehicles – the fact that Holybrooks has taken on an additional vehicle reflects increasing demand for its services from local dog owners.
Helen established her business as a part-time venture in 2009, naming it after a local stream close to her childhood home, which she still walks by. Holybrooks now employs a team of four, who work in three shifts per day.
She and her colleagues use their vans to collect pets from their homes, take them for walks in small groups at locations appropriate to their abilities and temperaments, then return them afterwards. They also undertake one-to-one training, and make house visits.
Dubbed Xavier, Xena and Yogi – names which appear over their front wheelarches – the Citans have been an instant hit. “They are great to drive, and every bit as comfortable as you’d expect of a premium brand like Mercedes-Benz,” enthused Helen.
“Clients are always complimenting us on how smart our new vans look, while we’ve already noticed a marked improvement in economy, which means we’re making fewer visits to the filling station.”
Holybrooks has signed-up to cost-effective Mercedes-Benz Service Plans. “When our previous vans were due for routine maintenance we would drop them off with the Dealer in the morning and pick them up at the end of the day,” she recalled.
“By contrast, Rygor’s long opening hours mean we can take a Citan in after our busy lunchtime period, then collect it either later that evening, or first thing next morning. As a result, our vehicles are always available when needed, which is a definite bonus given that we can’t work without them.”
Arranged by Rygor, the Agility contract from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services offers all the benefits of conventional hire purchase with a balloon payment – including low monthly repayments – but gives operators extra options at the end of the term.
“We will almost certainly hand the Citans back and upgrade to newer vehicles on completion of the contract but it’s nice to know that if we prefer to do so we can also pay off the final lump sum and keep them,” added Helen.
Rygor Commercials Van Sales Executive Elena Eton commented: “Rygor’s commitment to Setting Standards means we’ll always go the extra mile to support local businesses like Holybrooks, whose vans are so integral to their success. Helen and her colleagues provide a great service to local dog owners and their eye-catching Citans are certainly helping to raise awareness of this brilliant little van here in Reading.”