SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
They’ve been in business for over 38 years and they’re still big on the new car smell, so to speak. Every month Brian Pierce – Brian is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Grandwest Enterprises in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – and his colleagues put together a monthly sales flyer full of many exciting products. “So much of what we do stems from interacting with customers in-store and online,” Brian explained when he spoke with Spotlight on Business in late 2017. “We’re here for all your truck and auto accessory needs and we listen to what our customers say. We find that they will quite often say ‘Oh, here’s a good item; maybe you should have that in-stock or featured on the website.’ The website is constantly updated with information about new products – and new sales tools – for our customers coast-to- coast.” The Grandwest team is always looking for new and exciting products to add to their extensive lineup and their famous catalogue shows year- after- year that they’re never complacent. Grandwest’s 190,000 square feet warehouse is “always full to the rafters,” Brian said. “And with the recent addition of a warehouse in Montreal and a sales force in Eastern Canada, we’re going to be an even stronger national competitor.”
SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE • APRIL 2018
By David MacDonald I f you’re a business owner in the truck and auto accessory game in Canada, you’ll especially appreciate Brian Pierce’s take on sales at Grandwest Enterprises. It’s not what you’d expect. “Most of our customers are long-term customers and that is something we really strive for,” he explained. “I always like to tell our customers, our new customers, that we want to be doing business with you today and we also want to be doing business with you 10 years from now. We like to form that relationship with the customer and let them know that we’re a partner in their business with them. Some of our competitors, some of them retail businesses, openly compete with their own customers and that’s something we’ll never do. We are here to help our customers; we are here to help you get that sale.”
One of Grandwest’s bigger markets is new vehicles.
“Dealing with dealerships has always been a huge part of our business; they’re one of the biggest percentages of our customer-base. We’re diversifying in the market a little more these days, too. We’re dealing more with RV, suspension and
APRIL 2018 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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12 Volt accessories including lighting and remote starters. We carry a lot of towing accessories, really anything that you need for your vehicle to tow a trailer for your snowmobile, your RV unit, your fifth wheel; we’ve got all those products. We’re really trying to grow those product categories,” Brian said. Growth is a theme of sorts at Grandwest. In fact, it’s been a necessity since day one. From Grandwest’s Head Office at their now-expansive warehouse on Circle Drive in Saska- toon, Brian explained that the very first warehouse was little more than a closet. “We are here to help our customers; we are here to help you get that sale.” “When the owner George Reddekopp and his partner at the time first started the business nearly four decades ago, the initial storage space was in his apartment,” Brian explained. “They started off, back in the day, by going out and building-up a very modest inventory of products that they could sell to local farmers. They eventually branched out into the automotive sector because they realized that a lot of these farmers wanted to have running boards for their trucks. That’s how it all started. From there, it just ballooned into the accessory business that we are in today.” Nowhere is the balloon-effect better illustrated than at grandwestauto.com . There you’ll find the decades-long six-phase expansion of the warehouse clearly labelled on an aerial photograph. For Brian, the photograph is proof of a team that’s “always ready for the future.” “I think we have been able to keep up so well with expan- sions because we’re so committed to providing superior customer service. We’ve always strived to have on-hand the products our customers may want so they can have it when they need it. That’s required us to keep a very healthy inventory throughout the years. Nowadays a lot of the products are very vehicle-specific. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of a universal fit anymore so that requires you to have way more skews and inven- tory on-hand for each individual application. That is why we need such a deep inventory. That’s where our deep inventory comes from,” Brian said. A major component of Grandwest’s superior customer service is their road sales force. “They’re an out of the office sales force and they’re unquestionably the best,” Brian said with a hint of pride in his voice. “There is no other business in this country that has as many road sales people out there that are constantly calling on customers to sell car and truck accessories. We have 12 full- time road sales people who are out there year-round listen- ing to the customer and seeing what their needs are, which allows us to build that deep inventory I spoke of before and move forward in the most customer-driven way possible.”
The logistics of same-day shipping is a challenge but we are experts at it. We know you don’t want to wait longer than you have to.” “Because a lot of our employ- ees, our sales force, are automo- tive enthusiasts,” Brian contin- ued, “they are pulling a trailer so they know how the hitch works, for example. They have a remote starter in their vehicle or they are currently doing some dress-ups on their car or truck – they are very familiar with the products that we sell. Even our team members who aren’t putting accessories in their vehicles are very educated on our products. The better we know our products, the easier it is to help our
customers find just what they need.”
When it comes to knowing their products the Grandwest team is second to none for another reason.
“There is no other business in this country that has as many road sales people out there…” The sole Grandwest retail store doubles as a “testing ground for our products,” Brian explained. “As we get a new product in or an existing product that we have in a kind of queue – pretty much anything that we sell – we install it. We do it so that if one of our customers has a problem with it we can help them out as thoroughly as possible. We know how it works. All of it. A lot of our competitors can’t help customers with so much because they haven’t done the installation; they haven’t put their actual hands on the product. Typically they just ask for a part number, tell you whether or not you can order it. We’re a little bit more in depth at our order desk. Because of the extensive product training, they’ll know what will fit, what won’t fit and what you’ll need to get the job done.” Besides dealerships, Grandwest’s biggest market is “truck people,” Brian said. “Many of these customers rely on their trucks for work as much as they do for play; they live in their trucks.” Grandwestauto.com even features photographs of customer trucks submitted by proud owners. “We have been branching out and doing more of the automotive accessories but our bread and butter has always been trucks. There are more products to put on a truck but we are doing a substantial amount of business with cars now.” To browse the famous Grandwest Enterprises catalogue online or to read-up on featured leading-edge products like the Grandwest team chose Coil Over IFP Fox Shox from the 2.0 Performance Series, please visit grandwestauto.com.
Working with that deep inventory is a day-to- day challenge the Grandwest team welcomes, Brian explained.
“We’re here to help out. We’re here to fulfill the custom- er’s needs but more than that, we want to do it in a timely manner. We’re big on same-day shipping. When you place an order online or when you order over the phone your order is going out that day – it is leaving the warehouse that day.
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815 Circle Drive E. Saskatoon, SK S7K 3S4
as spotlighted in the APRIL 2018 issue of SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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