Great West Auto Electric has received the Business Hall of Fame Award from the City of Swift Current, Saskatchewan.
The family-owned jobber is part of Uni-Select and has been serving the southwestern part of Saskatchewan for 61 years, supplying a vast array of automotive and agricultural parts along with quality tools, and thousands of miscellaneous items.
Turning 81 this year, George Wiebe answered an ad in the newspaper in July of 1951 when Great West opened its doors. He never looked back, learning the business from the ground up and earning his way to manager and owner. George still works five days a weeks and his wife Margaret Wiebe also worked in the office and was instrumental in getting the company computerized in the 80’s.
George’s son Randy bought into the business, followed by his daughter Sharon Walde. Sharon is co-owner and works as a counter salesperson and handles all the warranty work. Randy is the co-owner/manager and his wife is the Office manager/purchaser. In addition George’s youngest son Darcy works for the company handling in-town sales and Sharon’s husband works in the shop as an electrical technician. So out of 14 staff members, six are family members.
Great West’s success is due in part to the importance that the Wiebe family has put on customer service. George continues to hold firm to the belief that “you can’t sell what is not on the shelf,” and has always made it a priority to carry sufficient stock to meet the needs of the customers.
George also started the practice of after-hours service 60 years ago and today the staff maintains that policy. Upgrades in the computer system this year allow staff to use their home computers to link into Great West and answer customer questions through the E-Part Internet connection. “This has proven invaluable to both employees and customers and often means helping someone out of a tight jam,” explains Leanne Wiebe.
The longevity of Great West Electric’s staff – 20 to 40 years - and George’s service oriented approach to his business has served his customers well and is reflected in the company’s motto – Great West Electric…”Helping You Get It Done.”