Auto Service World
News   May 25, 2022   by Adam Malik

Long-time Bestbuy member joins Uni-Select

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After more than half a century as part of the Bestbuy family, Colonial Auto Parts will move under the Uni-Select banner.

Uni-Select made the announcement on May 24 that it had “entered into a strategic agreement” with Colonial Garage & Distributors Limited and its affiliated companies, which includes Colonial Auto Parts. Family-owned for almost 100 years, Colonial supplies automotive aftermarket parts through its 20 locations across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Uni-Select highlighted “Colonial’s strong reputation” and the commitment of its 150 employees who provide a high level of customer service and support.

Colonial marked 55 years with Bestbuy in 2021. Its president Douglas Squires, also a former Bestbuy chairman, noted the opportunity to grow beyond its current landscape as an enticing reason to join Uni-Select.

Douglas Squires

“With its extensive warehouse network and strong vendor relationships, Uni-Select offers us the scalability we have been missing to expand and grow our business to the next level. We have been thoroughly impressed by the knowledge, professionalism, and flexibility of Uni-Select’s senior leadership team,” Squires said in the announcement.

“After being a shareholder in a competitive network of independent wholesalers for over 55 years, we are excited by the opportunities provided to our group of companies and look forward to a bright and exciting future.”

Colonial first opened as a service and gas station in St. John’s by Gordon Elton in 1926. It imported parts from across Canada for local motorists. His two sons took over the business in the 1950s and opened a body shop and a machine shop, followed by a radiator fabrication facility. It acquired New Brunswick-based A.P.M. Limited in 2006. The business remains in the family today, with majority ownership held by family members Susan Elton Squires, Gillian Elton and Squires.

Colonial’s stores will convert to the Bumper to Bumper banner in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. It will also keep its own identity and name in its local market where it is well known.

Emilie Gaudet, president and chief operating officer of Uni-Select’s Canadian Automotive Group, welcomed Colonial as a new independent member.

“This new and very promising agreement with the Colonial Group, with whom we share the same values, will allow us to consolidate our presence in the Atlantic Provinces and complement our current members in the region,” she said in a statement.

“This partnership with Colonial represents our first agreement with a major independent member in the last decade and represents our commitment to our strategy of building and strengthening relationships with our Canadian members,” noted Brian McManus, executive chair and chief executive officer at Uni-Select Inc.

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