Maggie Davison, Port Perry Auto Supply: Lead by Example
Maggie Davison owns Port Perry Auto Supply and has been there since 1981!
Davison started as a driver at a jobber store owned by Jim Burghgraef. She admits she knew nothing about auto parts! “And that’s when Jim began teaching me the ropes of the business,” Davison tells us.
“He taught me everything from learning to mix car paint to doing inventory control, managing expenses, payroll and accounts payable, and learning the counter. His patience gave me the confidence in doing my job to the best of my ability. I learned so much from him!” she states.
Tragically, in 1998 Jim was killed in a car accident. His wife, Sandra, ran the business for a year and then sold it to CARQUEST. Port Perry Auto Supply became a corporate store called CARQUEST Auto Parts with Davison as the manager.
“I wasn’t content with just managing the store… I wanted complete ownership. Many challenges lay ahead, but with support from my husband, Ken, I met each challenge head-on and became the proud owner of Port Perry Auto Supply, September 2011,” Davison relates.
It was important to Davison to go back to the familiar name of Port Perry Auto Supply in memory of Jim. She tells us his photo is seen hanging at the front counter and is a great conversation piece when past customers who knew him come into the store.
Davison goes on to tell us that Customer Service is one of their top priorities… they go the extra steps needed to satisfy their customers. “My main counter pro, Janice Crough, began working for me in September 2000 and brought with her years of counter experience,” Davison comments. “My team consists of my daughter Kimberly Reeves, who is on the counter and also delivers the parts; Kathy LeFort, who is my outside sales rep, along with part-time drivers Jeff Young and Rick Romanyk. My husband, Ken, also drives part-time for the store. And I’d like to add that most of my staff have been employed at Port Perry Auto for a while.”
“I attribute my success to the great team who follow in my footsteps in delivering good customer service,” Davison relates. “Our customer base is used to hearing the familiar female voices answer the phone and is confident in getting the right parts in a timely manner.”
But it isn’t all about in-store business for Port Perry Auto Supply. Community involvement is very important to Davison. “I’ve been a member of the Scugog Women’s Sistoars Dragon Boat Team. I’ve sponsored and played on the Scugog Women’s Hockey League, sponsored the Scugog Men’s Hockey League, and I’m an active participant in the tricycle race for the Port Perry United Way. I also participated in the Torch Run for The Special Olympics,” Davison notes.
To top it off, Port Perry Auto Supply earned the “Business of the Year” award in 2016 from the Scugog Chamber of Commerce for 15 or less employees!
Asked what she thinks the future holds for her business and the aftermarket, Davison says that dealerships are becoming more aggressive in getting their share of the aftermarket business. She notes the industry is and has been changing. There are less “backyarders” due to challenges with repairs to newer vehicles.
“Challenges are finding qualified staff to work the front counter. I will be having staff retire, and they will need to be replaced. We need to find replacements somewhere,” Davison adds.
As you can see from this profile, Davison has led a team of women and men working in her store to success in the auto parts trade, having learned it herself from a great business teacher and mentor.