By Myron Love
TREHERNE, MAN. – Metcalfe’s Garage Ltd., Manitoba’s oldest Ford dealer (and quite likely, the province’s only fifth-generation family-owned dealership) unveiled its new look in mid-April with a party for about 450 customers and friends.
The day-long celebration included opportunities to test drive the latest Ford products, door prizes and a ribbon cutting marking the official opening of Metcalfe’s new Ford millennium facility.
Also on display were a 1915 Model T, a Monarch Richelieu and Ford Victoria from the mid-1950s and a Ford Galaxie 500 XL from the early 1960s.
“We redid our dealership in line with the Ford millennium facility guidelines,” says dealer principal Neil Metcalfe, who is also the current president of the Manitoba Motor Dealers Association.
“We enlarged our showroom and installed new furniture, new flooring and a new customer lounge.”
He reports that the $300,000-project took about a year to complete.
Thomas Metcalfe, Neil’s great, great grandfather, opened Metcalfe Garage in Treherne in 1900. The rural town sits about 130 km west of Winnipeg and boasts a current population of less than 1,000.
“He sold his first Motel T Ford in 1912,” Neil says.
The family moved to its current location on Highway 2 in 1978. Neil Metcalfe joined his father, Jack, and uncle Bruce, in the business in 1997. He had been managing the dealership since his dad and uncle passed away in the mid-2000s and purchased the business outright in January, 2010.
Despite its out-of-the-way location, Metcalfe reports the dealership sold 250 new and used vehicles last year.
“Business has been growing steadily in all areas of our dealer-ship,” he says. “Our sales volumes have tripled over the last five years.”
He is proud to say that he and his staff of 14 recorded the highest customer satisfaction ratings of any Ford dealer in Western Canada and finished third amongst the entire Canadian dealer body.
The dealership also earned its third Ford President’s Award and second Ford Diamond Club honour for its sales and customer satisfaction achievements last year.