By Pat Lee
If you walk into Twillingate Auto Supplies, you can buy more than wiper blades.
On top of parts for your vehicle, you can also buy snowmobile parts, snowblower parts, industrial parts and hydraulics as well as gear for your fishing boat. Oh, and they’re also a franchise for The Source should you need any electronics.
Owner Garry Guy said in a small community, you do what you have to do.
“We had to diversify to survive,” said Guy, who is also in construction and trucking and owns some rental properties.
“You need to be in everything to survive in a small town.”
The business also carries a diverse inventory as they are the only auto shop in the isolated community in the northeastern part of the province.
“We are the only game in town but there are others within two hours.”
Guy said he went into business in 1976 with his father and brother while still in business school at Memorial University in St. John’s.
Guy said he wanted to own a business and was looking for a way a way to return home when school was done.
“I wanted something to do … so came back to my hometown and started up the store,” he said.
“My brother and I got into it together. He had a keen interest in cars and my father was in the trucking business, so it seemed a natural thing for us to get involved in.”
Over the years, Guy said he looked after the business side of things while his father remained in trucking and his brother, now retired, looked after the day-to-day operations at the shop.
His son David now manages the business, which employs five, including Guy’s sister. Also, a nephew works in another part of the business.
For several years now the auto parts operation has been under the NAPA banner, and before that C.A.W.L. and UAP.
Being connected to the NAPA Auto Parts network means the business has access NAPA’s many programs and huge inventory of quality auto parts.
The business gets its orders from NAPA’s centrally located Moncton, N.B., warehouse on a daily basis, from Monday to Friday.
Guy said they have experienced the ups and downs of the economy, mainly riding the highs and lows of the fishery over the years.
“Our business is affected quite a bit by the fishery.”
He said a spike in tourism in recent years has helped in the summer months.
Now semi-retired, Guy leaves the operation to his son to look after.
“He’s pretty much taken it over now.”