Auto Service World
Feature   January 1, 2000   by Bob Blans

Across Canada: Welcome To 2000!

I hope the year started without too many glitches for you, and that having successfully crossed the year 2000 threshold, it is business as usual with the potential of increased sales and profits.

In early December I know for a fact that battery sales were down in Southwestern Ontario as we enjoyed a balmy first week with 12 to 14 degrees C. temperatures, but who knows what Mother Nature has in store for us?

By the end of 1999 booth space for the CIA Show, to be held in Montreal in April, was close to a sell-out (about 90%) and naturally AIA is hoping for record attendance especially from automotive jobbers. There are many reasons to attend the show and one that has just been announced is that there will be an opportunity to win over $30,000 in prizes. AIA says that during the show one prize will be drawn every hour on the hour. The Grand Prize is a 2000 pickup truck. Other prizes to be won include a premium assortment of outdoor- and recreation-related items. To qualify for these prizes all you have to do is pre-register and attend the show.


Effective January 1, Bob Millson is retiring as field representative for the AIA Southwestern Ontario Division. I’ve known Bob for many years when he was a part of the management team at McKerlie-Millen in London, Ont. He’s a fine gentleman who did a great deal during his working career to promote his company and the industry. Bill Clark, the rep for Central Ontario, will add the responsibility for Southwestern Ontario.

Another new field rep has been appointed for Quebec. Jean-Marc Laroche (formerly with Carquest and before that the Quebec Division of McKerlie-Millen) will take on that task. Laroche has worked for years on industry-government committees and is a fine addition.

The Saskatchewan Division welcomes new members: Mecho Supply in Regina and Trac Auto and Industrial Ltd., also in Regina.

The AIA Manitoba Division hosted its usual Yuletide Luncheon. Division chairman Dale Hamill extended thanks and season’s greetings to a large member turnout. He also outlined a proposed division program for the year 2000.

As most of you are aware Earl Corbett, “the Godfather of Western Canada Auto Parts,” passed away last fall. In his memory the AIA Southern Alberta Division Executive and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology have decided to rename the AIA Southern Alberta Division Scholarship the Earl Corbett/AIA Southern Alberta Scholarship. Earl, who gave much of himself to the industry and the people in it, would be pleased with that decision. He was a man who always had time for others and he was willing to share his knowledge with them.

Over 100 participants attended the Quebec Division Casino Night and Chairman’s Visit in Montreal. Proceeds will go to the Marion Roberts and Arthur Paulin Scholarship Funds.

The Central Ontario Division Chairman’s Visit attracted about 85 people. AIA chairman Mike Bryan gave members an update on AIA activities.

Last but certainly not least, I learned from Bill Holmes at Hastings that Ken Nash, the owner of Ken Nash Auto Supply Inc., recently closed his store in downtown Toronto. Although Ken, 68, plans to do some part-time work he also plans to spend more time on the golf course when weather permits. Ken has been in the automotive business for 53 years. He started with Torgis and Son Ltd. in Toronto at age 15. Harry Torgis took him under his wing and he worked his way up in the company to an outside sales position. After a short stint with CP Tool and a couple of years with Walter Sachs at Leaside Warehousing, he started his own business. That was in 1972. He always remained an independent jobber. Please join me in wishing Ken the best in his endeavors on and off the golf course.

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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