Auto Service World
Feature   December 1, 2002   by Bob Blans

Across Canada Report: Change Is the Only Constant

I sincerely wish everyone the best in the year 2003 and hope that the Canadian automotive aftermarket continues to prosper.

Certainly, 2002 has been a year of change, particularly with the announcement from AIA that it has cancelled the 2004 Canadian International Automotive Show and the association’s plans for more regional events and conferences. Certainly AIA’s regional focus, while maintaining its status as a national organization, is a positive one and will be welcomed by many of the divisions and their members.

This is an opportunity for jobbers across the country to become more involved in the association, with more of the action closer to home.

With this focus it looks like 2003 will be a year of reorganization within the association as it deals with many new issues that affect the ever-changing aftermarket. It looks like division chairs, committees, councils, AIA staff, and field reps will have a busy year ahead.

One busy man is Ray Datt, the president of the association, whose efforts have not gone unnoticed, especially in the field of education. Congratulations to him on receiving the Northwood University Automotive Aftermarket Education Award.

And talk about change. Have you heard about the five-year deal signed between Canadian Tire and NAPA Canada, which will see NAPA supply CT stores with emergency parts and products they don’t normally carry?

Change is, as they say, the only constant.


Bill Tyner, the B.C. and Vancouver Island rep, reports that last month the Vancouver Division held meetings in conjunction with the Career Education Society (CES) at their annual convention. The CES consists of career counsellors from high schools throughout B.C. Also a seminar was held dealing with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods regulations.

Peter Gilchrist from the B.C. interior reports that Ron Plante, who was the owner of NAPA Auto Parts in Princeton, B.C. for the past eight years, has decided to pursue another vocation. The store will now be a corporate store managed by Kevin Simms from the NAPA warehouse in Kelowna, effective November 1.

Uni-Select had a meeting in Kelowna in late October for members who are served by the Kelowna warehouse. It was hosted by Al Samson. Terry Pollock and Brian Miller from the Uni-Select warehouse in Vancouver were also in attendance.

Okanagan University College in Kelowna installed an Interactive Distance Learning System and held two open house functions for jobbers and technicians. Future training courses will be available for $30 per two-hour session. A book of 10 tickets is available for $250.

Lorne Tippe of NAPA Auto Parts in Kamloops, B.C. has completed the conversion of the new NAPA store design inside and out. Peter says it looks great.

Rod Webb, the Southern Alberta Division field rep, notes some changes in membership over the past year. Garry McCurdy, in preparation for his retirement, has sold Bowness Auto Parts to Steve Johnson, who has taken over as general manager. Earl Marshman has sold his UAP/NAPA store in Fort McLeod to Gerry Kleissen, who is now the general manager.

And here is a final note: This time of year I like to express my thanks and appreciation to the people from coast to coast who contribute to this column and as well, of course, the people who read it.

Note: If you have any information to contribute to this column please call Bob Blans at (905) 844-8616, Fax (905) 844-8731, E-Mail to or write to Across Canada Report c/o Jobber News Magazine, 1450 Don Mills Rd., Don Mills, ON M3B 2X7. In addition to AIA Division activities we are interested in hearing from you about the opening of a new business, change of ownership, expansions etc.

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