Auto Service World
Feature   March 1, 2001   by Bob Blans


It’s been an interesting winter. As you know there has been very little snow in the west and mountains of the stuff in the east, especially in Newfoundland.

In early February another major storm hit Newfoundland, bringing the total snowfall there to 332 cm (about 11 feet). I decided to get the weather story and how it is affecting the automotive industry down east from the horse’s mouth. I called Bill Elton at Colonial Garage in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

At the time I called, Elton told me that the severe weather had not increased sales of automotive parts. “A lot of people are leaving their cars at home,” he explained. He said, too, that while there was a lot of snow the weather hadn’t really been that cold. But Colonial sells and services Arctic snowplows, which were in heavy demand. “A lot of snowplow parts have been sold,” said Elton. “Other years those parts were sitting dormant. This year we’ve had to get some parts in by air.” He said the sale of winter wiper blades was way up and that there was a real shortage of them–many suppliers were out of them. He also said battery sales were up.

“The biggest problem,” said Bill, “is coming home and listening to the women complaining about being stuck in the house…a lot of them don’t like to drive in heavy snow so they are stuck home. They hate it.”


First, some short notes from Peter Gilchrist, AIA Rep in the B.C. Interior: The Lordco Merritt store opened last month; Graham O’Leary is the branch manager; AFE (Kamloops) Ltd. has closed down and owner Greg Milliard will review some new options. Trevor Gilbert (B.C. Interior chairman) and his committee are busy promoting the 2001 AIA Convention in Penticton; and Dave Mattes, Oliver Auto Parts, Oliver B.C., is going to the tropical paradise of Bali for a well-deserved vacation.

Cy Russell reports from the Manitoba Division that the division welcomes Fast Parts Plus as a new member. Also Tom Yankewicz has joined the PartSource team. Tom previously held positions with Piston Ring and Cooper Industries/Wagner Brake Products (now Federal-Mogul).

AIA vice-president Marc Brazeau is pleased to announce the appointment of Lloyd Reynard as the new AIA field representative for the Vancouver Island and British Columbia Divisions. He replaces Harold Nicholls, who had represented the interests of AIA and its members in both divisions since 1994. Marc says AIA and the divisions have planned a special evening to recognize Harold’s contribution. As a contributor to this column Harold notes that he has enjoyed calling on AIA members and prospects and the social interactions that were created. “It was my pleasure to work with the members and I wish them good health and happiness.” Lloyd Reynard began his career 35 years ago. In 1970 Lloyd became warehouse manager for Allied Wholesale Distributors in Vancouver. In 1976 he became managing partner of Surrey Automotive, where he remained president until his retirement in 1999. Lloyd served on the board of directors of Modern Sales and once held the position of president and chairman of the board.

Finally, a salute to Big Dave’s Auto Parts. Big Dave is Dave Elliott of Wallaceburg Automotive Parts, in Chatham, Ont. Big Dave’s Auto Parts is what he calls his website. I receive their monthly flyer via email and I’m impressed. They get a lot of visitors to their site. Try and log on to Big Dave’s at

Looking ahead, AIA divisions are busy making plans for spring and summer events including golf tournaments. Tournament dates have already been set by some divisions. Northern Alberta will hold its first tournament June 21 in Lacombe, Alta. The Fall Classic will be held Sept. 13 at the Raven Crest Golf Course in Edmonton. Southwestern Ontario Division has planned its first tournament for May 31 in Ingersoll, Ont. More details on tournaments in future columns.

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.

Print this page


Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *