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Atlantic Racing Scene

NAPA Blanc-Sablon ‘Road Trip’ to service customers!

By Marty Kingston
When you’re on Quebec’s Lower North Shore, servicing your Automotive and industrial accounts sometimes takes a little planning! This past spring, Perry and Louise Lavallee, owners of the NAPA Automotive Store in Lourdes-du-Blanc-Sablon, Quebec, embarked on quite a journey to visit accounts and talk to new customers!

What transpired was a 700 kilometer trek by snowmachine, as nine of the Lower North Shore’s fifteen communities are not connected by road. Taking the snowmobile was the only mode of transportation available. Thus, Perry & Louise left Old Fort Bay and drove their machines all the way to La Romaine. It was of great value that they were able to meet each client in person, to demonstrate the importance of each business, and to bring NAPA to each community. This included the villages of St. Augustine, La Tabatière, Whale Head (Tête-à-la-Baleine), and La Romaine.

The duo packed their machines with NAPA marketing material, NAPA wearables and as much product as they could fit. It was quite an excursion to visit regular customers and others they actually met for the very first time.
Perry and Louise Lavallee - taking customer service to a whole new level.


Convenience Store operators hold 2007 national convention

The 2nd Annual Votre dépanneur Conference & Expo was held again this year at the Sheraton Laval in Montreal, and was another great success offering retailers the opportunity of meeting and speaking with over 50 companies ranging from confectionery to cash machines, carwash equipment to tobacco and novelty items.

The Habs’mascot, Youppi!

Luc Dumulong of Distribution G.V.A., Quebec’s largest cigar distributor says; “This C-Store Conference & Expo 2007 Show allowed us to meet with some of our customers and to exchange ideas and information with other industry colleagues on regulatory issues that will affect the whole C-Store channel”.

Marie-Hélène Senecal of DataWave said that “the Conference & Expo is the perfect venue for your company to reach convenience store owners directly, to promote your products and services, introduce latest trends and gain market feedback”!

An exhibitor displaying his wares

The 2nd Annual Votre dépanneur Conference & Expo exhibitors welcomed diverse ethnic communities including English, French, Chinese, Korean and Lebanese who make up of both independent and chain retailers involved in the gas, convenience and carwash industries.

Attendees and exhibitors enjoyed the sounds of a local jazz trio while spending time Jazz Night featuring a local Jazz trio while enjoying a buffet and refreshments. There were also another 50 participants who attended the last Montreal Canadiens home game against Boston Bruins.

The 2008 Votre dépanneur Conference & Expo is scheduled for March 25 – 27 at the Sheraton Laval. Don’t miss it! For more information visit here, and please call Brenda Jane Johnstone, 204-489-4215 or email her.


Castrol to sponsor
Canadian race series

Officials from Wakefield Canada, Inc, marketers of the Castrol brand in Canada, and The Canadian Touring Car Championship announced recently a title sponsorship agreement with Castrol through the end of 2009 season.

The Championship will be re-packaged as the “Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship.” Anthony Stadelman, Wakefield’s director of marketing sees this as a natural association for the brand. “Castrol has long supported touring car racing on a global scale, and has a strong local
tradition of supporting Canadian Motorsports.

With the quality of the people and the marques involved in the Canadian Touring Car Championships, it made perfect sense to align our brand with this series and carry on that tradition.”

As title sponsor, Castrol will receive prominent branding on all championship cars and will be connecting with sportscar fans all summer long through an aggressive advertising, public relations and event marketing campaign.“Castrol’s investment in The Canadian Touring Car Championship is the first, and most important step in helping the championship realize its goal of becoming the premiere racing series in the country,” said championship president John Bondar.

“Castrol’s involvement adds a tremendous amount of value to the championship and I am thrilled to announce that they have agreed to partner with us for the next three seasons.”

Ready to race!

The Castrol Canadian Touring Car Championship boasts some of Canada’s best drivers competing in today’s hottest sportscars. The championship will consist of three classes of competition, over eight weekends, with the marquee event being the recently announced addition of the Grand Prix of Toronto. Other races will be held at the famed Mosport International Raceway, the new Calabogie Motorsport Park and Shannonville Motorsport Park.

As part of the evolution of the championship, fans can expect to see large grids of some of the country’s hottest brands including Porsche, BMW, Saab, Lexus Acura, Mini, Nissan, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Mazda and Honda.

The events will also become a more fan-friendly environment with greater access to teams and drivers through pre-event, local market showcar appearances and driver VIP parties. On-site there will be a vendor alley, product displays, autograph sessions and more interactive automotive and motorsport themed events adding to the enjoyment the sportscar lifestyle brings.


Feds to fund on-line training for automotive industry

Parliamentary Secretary Lynne Yelich, on behalf of the Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, recently announced $950,561 for the Canadian Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) Council. The announcement was made at Roy Rump and Sons, a local Ottawa area repair shop.

“Canada’s New Government is committed to developing the best-educated, most-skilled and most flexible workforce in the world,” said Ms. Yelich. “By investing in this project, we are helping more than 200,000 automotive repair workers access affordable on-line courses that will strengthen their skills and understanding of new automotive technologies.”

CARS will receive funding for the project through the federal government’s Sector Council Program. In partnership with HRSDC, CARS will design, implement and test an online learning system that will allow automotive repair workers, across Canada, to upgrade their skills in their own time and at their own pace. The E-learning system will be self-paced, easily affordable and available 24/7, which will make learning more accessible and affordable for small, rural repair and service shops.

Over 200 000 workers and over 1 000 employers will benefit from the online system, providing up to 576 high demand courses to workers across Canada. The system will include mastery checkpoints for each course, and refer users to additional resources to supplement the course and improve their understanding.

“The greatest challenge facing our industry is keeping pace with the increasingly complex and rapidly changing automotive technology,” said Dan Bell, the president of CARS.

“That is why CARS is very pleased to develop and promote e-learning for the Canadian automotive repair and service industry. The funding announced today will provide automotive repair and service businesses a more efficient means of building the skills of their employees, making them more productive and the businesses more profitable.”On top of the funding announced today, Canada’s New Government has recently introduced three new measures to assist trades-people, apprentices and employers in the skilled trades sector by:

Providing registered apprentices with a taxable cash grant of $1,000 per year in the first two years of a Red Seal trade program,

Offsetting the costs of tools

Giving employers incentives to hire apprentices.

Sector councils play a vital role in helping to strengthen the labour market, thereby contributing to the productivity and competitiveness of the economy and the standard of living of all Canadians. They bring together governments, business, labour and educational stakeholders in key sectors to share ideas, concerns and perspectives about work force issues.