Auto Service World
Feature   November 1, 2006   by Auto Service World

Over the Counter: November 2006

Toronto Jobber Opens Year After Fire

Toronto jobber British Auto Supply, one of the oldest aftermarket businesses in Canada, has reopened more than a year after a fire destroyed the business.

Founded in 1904 by Jacob Schwartz as much as a repair business for the horse and carriage as a commercial repair facility, it evolved into a wrecking yard business selling used parts on a site where the CN Tower now reaches skyward. There were a few locations over the years, but the business’s main store had been in the same location on Ossington Ave. for two decades before the fire in May of 2005.

The newly opened facility is located on Primrose Ave. in Toronto. Owners Michael and David Schwartz have been working hard over the summer to equip the store with stock and systems to ensure proper customer service levels.

The co-founder of the Abe Schwartz Counterperson of the Year Award, presented by Jobber News, is now operating as the first Vast Auto-affiliated Auto Value jobber in Ontario.

Alberta Fundraiser a Hit

The Northern Alberta Division of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada raised more than $4,000 to fund scholarships at the 4th Annual Rick Gibson Memorial Fall Classic.

The format for the event was adjusted this year to give participants a chance to win a 42″ plasma television.

Joining the automotive participants were six of Rick Gibson’s friends and family, and this was the first year that Brent Gibson was able to attend the tournament named after his father. The tournament raised more than $4,000, which funds industry scholarships including the Rick Gibson Award. The award was set up after Rick’s passing and is available to automotive parts technicians enrolled at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Three scholarships of $500 are awarded each year.

Canadian Shop Takes Top Honours

MSJ Automotive Services Ltd. in Windsor, Ontario has been named the 2006 Carquest Excellence Award winner, the first Canadian business to receive the North American award.

The Carquest Excellence Award seeks to recognize the top independent automobile service business in North America that, through the course of everyday service, exemplifies the professionalism necessary to build public understanding and respect for people working in the auto service industry.

“It is a great honour for MSJ Auto to be the first Canadian winner of the Carquest Excellence Award,” says owner John Sawatsky.

“The dedication by our entire staff to the customer’s experience is what makes our business successful and each one of my employees deserves this honour.”

Sawatsky and his wife Cathy founded MSJ Automotive Services Ltd. in 1989, naming it after their three daughters, Melissa, Stefanie, and Jaclyn. The 9,000 square foot repair facility employs seven technicians and three apprentices, who have more than 117 years of experience among them.

It is one of only 11 repair facilities in Canada that have earned the ASE Blue Seal, and it is a member of the Carquest’s Tech-Net Professional Auto Service program.

Canadian Takes Edelbrock Scholarship

James Crowe, a native of Whistler, B.C., has been named as the recipient of the 2006 Vic Edelbrock Sr. Scholarship.

Crowe was selected from 13 potential candidates by the WyoTech Institute Foundation, Laramie, Wyoming.

“The competition for the Edelbrock award was extremely tough this year, as it is every year,” says Dale Eslinger, the foundation’s executive director.

“There were a few students who demonstrated the academic accomplishment, work ethic, and character that befit the Edelbrock Scholarship, but James Crowe certainly rose above them all.”

Along with a near-perfect academic performance, perfect attendance, and an undeniable passion for the automotive industry, Crowe came highly recommended by his WyoTech instructors and peers.

“Receiving the Edelbrock Scholarship was a huge honour,” says Crowe. “It was really meaningful to me to be rewarded for my hard work in school, and the scholarship will help pay for a good part of my educational costs. More than that, though, is that Edelbrock is supporting the industry I love and I feel even more a part of the future of that industry. I am so grateful and proud.”

Brembo Signs Up With DHL

Brembo North America has announced a partnership with DHL Solutions to implement a new warehousing and distribution system that will provide quicker, more efficient delivery across the United States and Canada.

DHL Solutions, based in Plantation, Florida, and Brembo will utilize campus warehouses in Columbus, Ohio (250,000 sq. ft.) and Fresno, Calif. (90,000 sq. ft.) to service Brembo North America customers. Employing state-of-the-art logistical systems, including integrated EDI processing and RF pick/pack technology, the system will allow Brembo customers to receive their aftermarket products in one to three days in many cases, and not more than four days after receipt of the order with improved accuracy.

Customers will be notified by e-mail when the products ship and be able to web-track their orders throughout the process.

“The ‘Total Customer Experience’ is a critical initiative within BNA to provide customers with the best experience possible from the time of purchase to the final sale,” comments Geoffrey Wilsey, director of aftermarket sales.

“We are pleased to be partnering with [Brembo] to increase operational efficiency of its aftermarket supply chain,” says Shaun Hodges, senior director, sales and marketing, DHL Solutions, North America. “The new warehouse facilities will improve delivery times and ultimately enhance [the company’s] outstanding commitment to customer service.”

Heavy-Duty Event Registration Open

Online registration is now open for the second annual Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week, to be held at The Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Jan. 22-25, 2007.

An added convenience to attendees this year is the opportunity to register now and defer payment until January 2, 2007.

Expanding on last year’s conference, a number of dynamic educational sessions are scheduled including the Aftermarket Forum, the value-added selling seminar, and the Business and Technical Theatres.

For more program details, registration information and a list of HDAW 2007 exhibitors, visit


Grant Brothers Sales Limited has welcomed two new people to its staff. John D. Grant, president, has announced the appointment of Dave Percy as president of the Retail Division. Prior to joining GBS, Percy was the North American sales manager for Winner International. Prior to that, he was director of sales in Canada for Duracell Batteries. Louis Mottet, regional manager, Quebec for Grant Brothers Sales Limited, has announced that Eric Normandin has accepted the position of district manager, Quebec. Normandin will call on OEs, distributors, and heavy-duty fleets as well as having some automotive responsibilities in the Montreal North Shore region. Normandin has a strong automotive and heavy-duty background.

Beck/Arnley announced that it has restructured its sales department. Vince McMahon has been named Beck/Arnley’s vice president and general manager. In addition to his responsibilities for daily operations, McMahon will now oversee all of the activities of the company’s sales force. John Murphy has been promoted to vice president of sales for the traditional WD market in the Eastern U.S. Vince Tramontano will remain vice president of sales for the traditional WD market in the Western U.S., and Jerry Stevens remains vice president of sales for Canada. Doug LeBoeuf will transition into the position of vice president of sales administration, where he will focus his efforts supporting the retail supply chain partners and managing administration of all head-office program group activities. LeBoeuf will also oversee the efforts of Pat Moran in the newly formed role of national import specialist sales manager. Robin Kasten has been promoted to the newly formed position of inside sales manager, where she will focus her efforts on Beck/Arnley’s smaller accounts in their early stages of growth.

Letter . . .

Dear Editor:

I enjoyed reading your Editorial Comment (“Small Problems Are Big Problems,” September 2006). Our industry appreciates your efforts to help get the incidents of “access to information” reported.

Malcolm Sissmore,


Automotive Industries Association of Canada

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