Thunder Bay Success Story
Not just one, but two successful businesses!
Doug Wilson and his partner, Angela Cadorin, are the proud owners of two very successful businesses in Thunder Bay, Ontario: Done- Rite Imports—a Repair and Tire Shop, and Fat Guys Auto Parts—a Jobber store!
Doug started in the business when he was only 13 or 14. He began as a shop hand at his uncle’s garage. He became a licensed technician at 20 and worked for a local dealership for six to seven years. He then decided to try working for himself.
In 1996, Wilson opened Done-Rite Imports. As the name suggests, he worked only on imported vehicles. “In those early years, Doug was pretty much a one-man show. He worked the front counter plus performed all the mechanical work. Fast forward 20 years, and Done-Rite Imports has become one of the most respected repair and tire shops in Thunder Bay. The business has grown from fixing only imported vehicles, to being one of the city’s best fleet management companies. Done-Rite is also an authorized dealer of Bridgestone/Firestone tires. We employ more than twenty people,” Angela tells us.
First one, then another
Done-Rite Tire & Auto is the first of Doug’s businesses. As Angela mentioned, Doug began the business in 1996. “Currently, there are four licensed technicians, two apprentices, and six tire technicians. The Repair Shop occupies approximately 10,000 square feet. Fat Guys Auto Parts was incorporated in 2011 and is owned by Doug and I collectively. I’m a Chartered Accountant who spent almost 20 years in the corporate world and am now CFO for our companies. In addition, I’m the one and only member of our Marketing Department, which means I do all the radio, print and social media for all our companies. Doug came up with the name “Fat Guys Auto Parts,” but I came up with the marketing campaigns to get people to remember the name!” relates Angela.
So how does being a jobber help Angela and Doug in the auto repair side of their businesses? Angela states, “It helps us tremendously. First, there are obvious financial advantages to buying parts from a related company. Second, we understand parts because we’ve been consuming them for 20+ years. That knowledge makes it much easier when deciding which brands to carry in our store. We buy as much as we can from Fat Guys Auto Parts—a proud Bestbuy member. If we buy a lot of something from a third party, we begin researching to determine if there’s a comparable product we can distribute ourselves. We try very hard to be self-sufficient.”
We wondered about training for the technicians. “We agree that training is critical. We do a mixture of online training (CARS On Demand), as well as hiring external trainers to come in to perform hands-on training with our technicians,” Angela says.
CCB also asked if Done-Rite has any trouble getting information to fix vehicles, especially the newer ones. Angela said she didn’t believe it was an issue. “We use a few different online tools to gather information, such as ALLDATA and Identifix. Both are comprehensive.”
Done-Rite is obviously successful and we asked Angela why. “I believe Doug has been successful because of his client focus. Done-Rite is not the cheapest repair shop in Thunder Bay, but it consistently delivers exceptional service. Many of the customers we serve at Done-Rite today have been customers since 1996.
“Fat Guys, on the other hand, was a brand-new business in 2011,” she says. “We marketed ourselves very differently than most part stores. We give away free hot dogs and popcorn every day. We have very personable staff who like to banter and know about vehicles, and we shop the market and make sure we are competitively priced. We’re also very active in the community. If there’s something fun we can do to support a local organization, we do it!”