Auto Service World
Feature   January 1, 2002   by Bob Blans

Across Canada Report: Get on the Bus

Time to get on the bus. Now is the time for jobbers and WDs to organize buses that will take their customers and employees to the Canadian International Automotive Show that runs from Friday May 3 to Sunday May 5 at the International Centre in Toronto.

It’s a real opportunity for you to thank your customers and educate them on all that is new in the industry, from the latest products and tools to the latest technology. And this time it is affordable because AIA will provide subsidies of up to $750 per busload. But here is one important reminder. The bus must be at least 75% filled to qualify for the subsidy. On two-day trips you automatically qualify for the subsidy. You are also requested to submit a copy of your invoice for the cost of the bus at least 10 days prior to the start of the show.

Jobbers and WDs in Quebec also qualify and the Quebec Division is also exploring the possibility of booking a complete rail car to take people to Toronto.

In addition AIA has negotiated special rates with PMCL/Greyhound bus lines from various locations in Ontario. A brochure with complete details will be mailed to members. I think it is a great program and I encourage you to participate.

By the way, AIA is celebrating a bit of a milestone this year. The Annual General Meeting to be held from 5 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. on May 5 will be AIA’s 60th. The first annual general meeting of the Canadian Automotive Wholesalers Association, the precursor to the AIA, was held in 1942. Congratulations to AIA and the people who have served the association during all those years.

I have just heard that Sam Dixon has died. Sam was editor of Jobber News for many years and I took over from him when he came became president of Wadham Publications in the early 1980s. That company was sold to Southam and became part of the Southam Magazine Group, now the Business Information Group.

Sam was well known and respected in the industry and it was hard to fill his shoes. I worked with him for a number of years, and he taught me a lot about the ins and outs of the automotive aftermarket industry. Sam received the AIA Distinguished Service Award in 1981 along with Arthur Paulin.

Sam was truly involved in the industry and attended many of the aftermarket golf tournaments. His favorite tournament was the Atlantic Division Golf Tournament and he and his wife Mary seldom missed a year. He was so involved in the industry that he steered his sons Bruce and Bill into the jobbing business, B&B Dixon Automotive in Newmarket, Ont. Sam was noted for being on deck at industry functions with his medium-format Rolleiflex camera.

He was a familiar sight with his pipe at the old Underwood typewriter in his office. He had a great sense of humor, and when he laughed everyone in the room could hear him. He retired in the mid-’80s and moved from Scarborough, Ont., to Grand Bend, Ont. Sam will be remembered by many of his aftermarket friends and our sincere condolences go out to his family.


Peter Gilchrist in the B.C. Interior reports that Lorne Tippe, a UAP/NAPA jobber who has three operations, two in Kamloops and one in Cache Creeks, has opened a fourth location in North Kamloops. Says Gilchrist, “At a time when most people are pulling in their horns, isn’t it nice to see someone with a positive outlook?”

Although not seen as good news for our industry I’d like to report that one of my friends played golf in the Toronto area during the first week of December. I guess we’ll pay for it some time before this winter is over.

And finally, best wishes for the New Year and here’s hoping for prosperity and growth for our industry in 2002.

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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