Harvey White is the manager of Bumper to Bumper – Lewisporte Auto Supplies in Lewisporte, NL.By Pat Lee
Harvey White started working in the auto supply business 40 years ago and has done it all, from pumping gas to selling parts to managing the operation.
“I started pumping gas and moved inside,” he said with a laugh.
Not only has he done most of the jobs, he’s been through a few ownership changes and moves, but since 1994 has managed Bumper to Bumper – Lewisporte Auto Supplies.
The business is owned by Rex Freake, who also owns Newhook’s Auto Parts in Gander, also affiliated with Bumper to Bumper.
The shop has four employees, including White’s brother Doug.
White, who is retiring in April when he turns 63, said he’s enjoyed his career in the industry, which started in 1978 when he was hired at a business with a four-bay garage and a small parts department.
The manager said on top of the move from rotary phones and cardex filing systems, he’s seen plenty of other changes over the years, including the kinds and number of parts they sell.
“Back in the day it was mufflers and exhaust systems,” White said. “Now you hardly sell any of that.”
He said there’s been similar changes with brakes where they used to sell all the individual parts to rebuild the brakes for vehicles.
“Now there’s no such thing, almost.”
He’s also seen their inventory climb from about 40,000 parts back in the ‘80s to about 300,000 now.
“I’ve been through all the changes in the world,” White said.
One change he views as a plus is the shop’s affiliation with Bumper to Bumper.
Bumper to Bumper is a Canadian auto parts distributor that has been in business for 50 years. Better known in western Canada, Bumper to Bumper is one of the country’s largest auto parts networks with 72,000 square meters of warehouse space in 160 stores and 4,000 affiliated mechanical shops.
“What we’ve found is identity,” White said. “We were always known as Lewisporte Auto Supplies, which was great because you knew everybody in town. But as you know, people come, people go, people die. All of the sudden you’ve got a younger crowd and they’re looking for a name. So, it’s Bumper to Bumper.”
He said this distinguishes them from a few other businesses in town that provide similar services.
White said he’s enjoyed meeting a lot of people in his line of work.
But come retirement in the spring, he’ll pass the reigns to someone else as he heads off to his cabin in the woods or hits the road with his cam