Auto Service World
News   May 10, 2021   by Christine Hogg

AARO seeks to increase membership with new initiatives

The Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO) has made some recent developments that the organization’s president, Eric Mileham, hopes will drive up membership numbers.

Mileham was appointed president of AARO in February 2020.

“We’ve been making strides to increase our membership and we’ve started to work towards developing corporate relationships,” Mileham said. “In this day and age, I don’t think it’s fair to ask the members to pay for the organization exclusively, I think there’s a lot of corporate money out there available to help organizations like AARO. Currently, AARO has more than 400 members, including 200 members that have been with us over 20 years, and some over 50 years.”

The annual membership is $505.00 plus applicable taxes.

Reducing the cost of the current membership fee for shop owners is an important goal for the organization, Mileham says, and joining AARO comes with several key benefits, including access to preferred rates with AARO’s credit card program, preferred rates on accidental insurance, access to legal services, and exclusive marketing and advertising solutions.

New training initiatives

New this year, AARO has also invested in additional training.

“The AARO training committee has added more training to our schedule,” Mileham said. “In addition to the terrific technical training we have always offered, we now have available in-depth owner training, service advisor training and we are working on what could be an industry first, back office training.” Invitations to training courses are usually advertised in AARO’s newsletters.

AARO is currently working on developing two new training programs for service technicians, one which is led by Bob Greenwood of of Automotive Aftermarket E-Learning Centre Ltd., and the other by Alan Beech, of Beech Consulting.

Looking forward

For the first time since the organization was created, AARO has updated its vision statement and mission statement, thanks to the vision committee which includes Steve Gushie, Rick Callahan, Emily Chung, and Darrel Croft. The new mission statement and vision statement are as follows:

Vision Statement

The leading advocate for independent automotive service professionals.

Mission Statement

We are an action-oriented not-for-profit association passionate about uniting the independent automotive aftermarket to address industry challenges. We are a solutions-based organization resolving current and emerging issues affecting our profession. We are the resource for industry information and training, consumer education, and your representation in government relations.

Additional initiatives by AARO to increase its membership include creating and deploying a social media strategy, setting up a testimonials page where individuals can leave reviews, and continuing to issue a monthly newsletter, which AARO hopes to distribute to a list of trade publications. A new membership committee has also been established.

AARO board members

The following individuals have been appointed to serve AARO’s Board of Directors for the 2021-2022 term:

  • Mike Adema, director
  • Ken Buehler, director
  • Rick Callaghan, director
  • Emily Chung, vice-president
  • John Cochrane, director
  • Darryl Croft, director
  • Diane Freeman, executive director
  • Tamara Ghosn
  • Rudy Graf, immediate past president
  • Steve Gushie, director
  • Carrie Hall, secretary treasurer
  • James Homes, director
  • Mark Lemay, director
  • Eric Mileham, president
  • James Shields, director

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