Rhino Truck Lube Centres promise quality, convenience and care as they expand across Atlantic Canada and beyondBy Kristen Lipscombe
“We’re not just changing oil. We’re changing the industry.”
That’s the bright yellow tagline that pops up on the website for brand new company Rhino Truck Lube Centres, which just opened up its first location in Moncton, N.B.; and is in the midst of expanding its second site to Dartmouth, N.S.; and next up to Woodstock, Ont.; and eventually, across the entire country.
But what exactly is Rhino doing differently within an oil change industry that has been around for decades? Well, the company’s logo hints at its big picture purpose.
“We really wanted something that was big and robust,” explained John O’Donnell, vice-president of operations and marketing for Just Lubes, Ltd., which oversees Jiffy Lube locations across Ontario and Atlantic Canada, and is now leading the charge on growing the Rhino brand.
“The logo and the name came out of the shape of a truck, so you kind of see the trailer and the cab,” O’Donnell described of what inspired the unique design.
You see, Rhino Truck Lube Centres is about to fill a large gap in the transportation industry, because its locations are meant to serve, well, large vehicles. It’s the brain child of O’Donnell and his entrepreneur partners in the Jiffy Lube business.
“There really isn’t, especially in Atlantic Canada, anything that is quick or convenient for the heavy-duty big rig trucks – for their oil changes,” O’Donnell said. “It’s a concept that we’ve seen done in the United States, but really no one here has done it. There are a few shops in Ontario and Alberta, but that’s about it, so we really want to give the drivers a true convenient oil change option.”
Rhino is like Jiffy Lube, but for vehicles ranging from long-haul transport trucks, to dump trucks and snow plows, to school buses and motor homes, with the goal of saving drivers as much time as possible in the most convenient way possible.
“Time is money,” O’Donnell said of the professional truck drivers who often have no choice but to stop by dealerships dedicated to large vehicles for both regular maintenance and emergency services, which can take them hours away from their intended routes.
“With our concept, they literally drive the truck and trailer into the bay and they don’t have to unhook,” O’Donnell explained. “Rhino Truck Lube Centres; we save you time.”
“We can change the oil, we can do all the grease that’s required on the truck and trailer, we can change their fuel filters, and any other kind of quick service fluid exchange, like anti-freeze, so really all of their maintenance items that really need to be looked at, at least once a month, with the amount of driving that they do,” he said. “And they can be in and out in 45 minutes.”
Rhino Truck Lube Centres are also an excellent option for recreational vehicle (RV) owners who are starting to get back on the road to discover new adventures as COVID-19 restrictions are slowly lifted across the country.
“Canadians are travelling again and (many of us have) been vaccinated, so it’s really fit for everything from RVs to big 18-wheeler trucks that are hauling all the goods to major retailers like Costco and Walmart, and for the local fleets as well. There is so much road and infrastructure work going on, so there are more construction vehicles on the road.”
Rhino opened its first location this summer in Moncton. It’s conveniently located on Venture Drive off Exit 462 in New Brunswick, conveniently located next to the impressive and modern Truck Stop Plus Moncton, which offers a wide range of amenities for small and big rigs alike. Those services now include lubrication, filtration, inspection and more with the addition of business partner Rhino on site.
“The location is right off the highway where there are a 100 trucks parked every night,” O’Donnell said. “It was really a no-brainer for us.”
“Moncton is really the hub for warehousing, so that’s why we started there,” he added. The company hopes to work with the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association to host a trucker appreciation day site in early September, featuring a barbecue, prizes and giveaways as “just a great way to introduce professional drivers to the site.” The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA), along with all provincial trucking associations, hold National Trucking Week starting the first Sunday every September.
Rhino’s second site is set to open for business this November in Dartmouth’s Burnside Industrial Park, with a similar opening ceremony to take place, of course following any COVID restrictions in place.
“That site is large,” O’Donnell said. “It will have two truck lube bays and two truck car wash bays, so we’ll have quite a bit of capacity there.”
Burnside Industrial Park is chalk full of warehouses and truck traffic, he said, “so we feel that location will be really convenient for the drivers.”
“There’s no truck wash in Nova Scotia,” O’Donnell added. “They were having to go all the way to Moncton, except for one mobile unit (that is available in the area).”
At all of Rhino’s shops, including the soon-to-be Dartmouth location, there is an important focus on environmentally sustainable practices, O’Donnell emphasized. “So with our truck wash, the way the system works is, it’s a massive catch basin and then it recycles the water, cleans it, purifies it and we reuse that in the wash, so it’s very environmentally friendly.”
“All of our waste oil that comes out of the trucks, and fluids, that’s all picked up and recycled as well, so everything is self-contained,” O’Donnell said, adding, Shell is a key partner. “Care for the environment is key for us.”
Along with thinking green, quality service and complete convenience, O’Donnell said safety is also a significant consideration in how Rhino is constructing its centres.
“There are so many more women drivers now, and I think that is a really important part; that they feel that they are in a safe environment,” he said. “It’s very professional; it’s not some shop in an industrial park way off the highway that they have to go to. It’s on the highway; it’s clean; it’s convenient; it’s professional.”
A convenience many truckers will appreciate is being able to get a drive-thru oil change and a quick Tim Hortons stop in at the same time. “You don’t even have to get out of the truck if you don’t want to. There’s WIFI in the centre so the truck driver can update his (or her) electronic log book while we preform the service and that’s really our key differentiator – time.”
As the Rhino website, www.rhinotrucklubecentre.com, states, “after 30-plus years in the business of quick lube and care, our management team knows one thing for sure – exactly what it takes to become a well-oiled machine.”
“We can envision having 10 to 12 centres across Canada within the next three to five years,” O’Donnell said, pointing to American company Speedco, the largest similar company south of the border, as an ideal business model for Rhino.
“You picture the Trans-Canada Highway with all of those locations,” he said. “Whether they’re taking fresh fruit from B.C. to Winnipeg, or goods and services from Toronto to Newfoundland, those large fleets exist coast to coast throughout North America.”
And those solid and dotted highway lines you picture travelling down the centre of the entire Trans-Canada? Well, they’re reflected in the Rhino logo, too. “The yellow represents the yellow lines of the highway,” O’Donnell said, “so you’ve got the black pavement and the yellow line. It has been a really fun process.”