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Our Journey

See where it all began...

Many of you will know our story, which started over a decade ago, as we have the pleasure of our loyal customers returning (some of you lots of times!). For those of you who don't already know, Choose Leisure started in summer 2008 as just a twinkle in Paul's eye...

July 2008

Choose Leisure was Founded

Nottingham-born Paul Santos was no stranger to the motorhome industry having cut his teeth as a salesman twenty years ago before moving on to be a Sales Manager and then General Manager for major UK motorhome dealerships. This culminated in a move to Canterbury and his passion for the industry was set.

He was trading motorhomes for himself in 2007 when the lure of an empty site in Canterbury, next door to the reduced-sized Brownhills, proved too tempting. In 2008 Choose Leisure was born.

Paul tells the story "We started out with just three of us. Me with my mechanical, sales and business background, my wife Jenny, whose experience in accounts and marketing have proved to be invaluable, and Wayne who had worked as a salesman for me before. We had about six vans which we would clean and rearrange every day to make it look busy!"

The timing couldn't have been worse in terms of the country's economy with recession being declared in the autumn of 2008.

Paul said "It was a tough start. We sold our house and invested absolutely everything we had. It was a huge gamble but we’ve never looked back."

2009

The Team Grows

The team started to grow... Left to right: Jools, Wayne, Paul, Steve, Pete & Chris.

2009

Choose Leisure Pioneered Motorhome Brokerage

Choose Leisure created ‘Motorhome Brokerage’ as a hassle-free way to sell for a higher return.

"Five years ago if you Googled ‘motorhome brokerage’ it didn’t exist. We’re really proud to be the first people that did this and take it as a compliment that so many others have since followed suit. I believe we’re by far the best though!" Paul Santos, MD

February 2010

Snow Day

Can you tell we had a little more time on our hands back then...?

August 2010

Business was Growing

A successful summer meant we started to need more space for our 'sold' row. Business was definitely growing despite being in the middle of the recession.

2011

Happy Customers

Increased sales meant a growing number of happy Choose Leisure customers, many of whom have come back to buy from us on more than one occasion. Our feedback page says it all: Choose Leisure Customer Feedback.

September 2011

We Moved into Our New Site

The South East lost two major dealers of the time back in May 2009 when both Brownhills and Discover Leisure closed their sites in the area. Business went from strength to strength for Choose Leisure and in September 2011 Paul and Jenny purchased the former Brownhills site and showroom on the A28 in Chartham.

October 2011

An Enormous Pitch to Fill

December 2011

...It Didn't Take Us Long!

Christmas 2011

Choose Leisure Kept it Under Wraps...

We always make time to have some fun! We wrapped an entire Elddis Autoquest 160 as a Christmas present from Mr and Mrs Taylor for their very excited daughters.

Summer 2012

Gaining Momentum

A full pitch of stock attracted a full car park and used vehicle sales were rapidly gaining momentum.

September 2012

Our First Away Day

To celebrate great results we organised a day away for the whole team. We've done something different every year since, meaning a number of fun trips for all!

January 2013

We Became Sponsors of Kent County Cricket Club

In 2013 we teamed up with Kent County Cricket Club who are based very locally to us in Canterbury. We have been proud sponsors ever since.

February 2013

Our First Auto-Sleepers Arrived

In February 2013 we took delivery of our first brand new Auto-Sleepers. Despite having been offered many new franchises, we felt that this was the right partnership. The quality product is backed up by quality support which is vital for our business and our hard-earned reputation.

February 2013

Our First (of many!) NEC Shows

Now selling brand new Auto-Sleepers, Wayne and Paul went to trade on the Auto-Sleepers stand at The Caravan & Camping Show at the NEC in Birmingham.

It was at the show that we took our first order on a new van.

To date, we’re delighted with our level of Auto-Sleeper sales and plan for it to be a long and fruitful relationship.

Here are the boys posing at one of the latest NEC shows.

February 2014

Dominic Joined the Team

Our team began to expand more rapidly. As we continued to grow busier we needed more hands on deck and Dom, second from left, joined us as Sales Manager in 2014. He now keeps everything in check as General Manager at Choose Leisure.

June 2014

The UK Summer Motorhome & Caravan Show

The UK Summer Motorhome & Caravan Show came to the Detling Showground in Kent for the first time. Being on our home turf, we were keen to have a stand there and have been back every year since.

May 2015

Our First Bailey Motorhomes Arrived

To continue our growth in the new sales market, we took on the Bailey franchise, specialising in the Advance range but later broadening to the Autograph and Alliance.

2016

The Choose Leisure Workshop Team Grew

Charlie joined us as Service Coordinator (now Service Manager) and we became fully equipped to carry out mechanical servicing alongside our existing habitation workshops. Father and son, Tony and James Spriggs, made up our Mechanical team. The youngest son of the Spriggs family, Curtis, has since joined us as a Hab Technician - truly a family business!

2017

More Happy Customers!

We have always loved selling to people who are ready to start their adventures in a new motorhome. Choose Freedom, Choose Adventure, Choose Leisure!

(As an aside, someone once commented that "Choose Leisure" wasn't a business name at all, but a lifestyle statement!)

April 2017

We Expanded Our Site

In 2011, when we took the huge step of buying our current showroom, workshops and forecourt, we gave up half of our previous site next door, thinking we’d never need it again - little did we know! We were bursting at the seams so were delighted to have taken that site back over again giving us another huge workshop and masses more forecourt space.

January 2019

Moving On Up

Having recently expanded our upstairs store rooms into bright and airy open-plan offices, Paul, Jenny, Dominic and Molly move up to their new homes to make more space downstairs. Sharon (Finance Assistant) and Gary (Finance Manager) joined us to make the new finance team.

2019

Present

Having celebrated our 10th birthday, we just want to keep getting better!