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Pioneering electronic business changes hands after 74 years

Jackson & Wills owner Lindsay Wills, left, with the new owner, Ashley Communications managing director Carl Garner, outside the Dee St business.

Kavinda Herath/Stuff

Jackson & Wills owner Lindsay Wills, left, with the new owner, Ashley Communications managing director Carl Garner, outside the Dee St business.

An electronic business formed 74 years ago, which helped Southlanders keep up with the advancement of radios, phones and televisions, has a new owner.

Jackson & Wills was opened by Maurice Wills in Invercargill in 1947, specialising in radio and electronics.

In 1956, Maurice was reportedly the first person in New Zealand to view overseas international television during the Melbourne Olympics using frequencies announced by Australian television authorities.

Two years later he was believed to have built one of the first complete television sets in New Zealand.

Jackson & Wills had been run by Maurice’s son Lindsay for the past 34 years.

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The biggest change in his 34 years in the business had been the transition from analogue to digital technology, which had opened up a “whole new field” for radio and telephones, Lindsay said.

The business has been sold to Ashley Communications.

Ashley Communications director Carl Garner said buying the business would be the company’s first major geographical expansion away from its base in Timaru.

“Southland is a very similar market to Timaru, and there’s a lot of opportunity here,” he said.

Ashley Communications also had a rich history, originally established in the 1930s, and alongside Jackson & Wills was one of the original Tait mobile radio dealers.

“I’m very excited for the future. Lindsay’s done some fantastic work over the years, there’s a really good base to build from to be able to deliver next level services,” Garner said.

Lindsay said the sale had gone seamlessly and he was excited to see how its new owner would take the business forward.

“From my perspective, I’m extremely pleased with the outcome because I know with Carl’s experience and his customer relations our customers will be looked after. I feel extremely confident handing the key to Carl,” he said.

All Jackson & Wills staff would be staying on with Ashley Communications, he said.

Lindsay plans to travel through central New Zealand for the next few months before returning to Southland to volunteer his time at various organisations.

“Just sharing what I’ve learnt over the years and giving back a bit really,” he said.



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