NAPA’s associate owners from Ontario got together last weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario for their annual conference.
About 35 owners plus managers representing more than 60 stores in the province members gathered at the Queen’s Landing hotel in the picturesque town. Attendees opened up the two-day event on February 24 and 25 with a session that featured Jeff Van De Sande, vice president of NAPA Auto Parts Ontario, Alain Masse, president of UAP, regional vice president of Ontario, John O’Dowd, vice president of marketing.
An associate panel of Gord Sewell or Sewell’s Automotive Supply, Tim Maille or Revere Solutions, Dave Ware of Ware’s Automotive and Industrial Supply, and Jeff Clark of Doug’s Truck & Automotive discussed various challenges the owners have faced and overcame them. Lisa McClelland, manager of associate store sales in Ontario, moderated the panel.
Then, the trade show opened up with more than 35 vendors taking the opportunity to meet with attendees.
The evening saw the group head over to Wayne Gretzky Estates for dinner and drinks. They were met by former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Doug Gilmour and three-time Olympic women’s hockey gold medallist Jennifer Botterill. Both posed for photos and signed autographs. The winery’s outdoor ice rink was opened up and spirited games of shinny were played.
The next and final day saw Botterill provide the keynote speech after breakfast, where she discussed the importance of performing under pressure, coming together as a team, adjusting to changing circumstances, especially when things don’t go as planned, trust yourself and constantly evolve. She also noted that the little things could matter the most. Botterill said she’s often asked what her most memorable goal scored was. She tells people it was actually an assist that stands out in her mind — the one to Marie-Philip Poulin to score what would be the game-winning goal in the gold medal game between Canada and the United States in Vancouver.
Several breakout sessions were held, focusing on various aspects of helping associate owners run their businesses better. There was also a presentation on the upcoming NAPA High Voltage program, which will be supporting its NexDrive banners.
Following the final general session and a short break, attendees ended the conference with a gala dinner. Entertainment was provided by Bob Cates whose juggling abilities and comedy engaged the crowd. Before he took the stage, Michel Bibeau, director of sales force technology, process and development, performed a original song for the crowd, inspired by his Ontario colleagues.
Please photos from the event below and check out video highlights on our Instagram page.