On the morning of September 11, 2001 I was in the office preparing to drive to Ste-Hyancinthe, Quebec for the Uni-Select Super Circuit trade show.
The company I worked in those days also owned the National Post, and I had a clear view of the newsroom from across the three-story high atrium.
The newsroom had television screens peppered throughout and, as I remember it, I watched the first plane go into the towers just as I was heading toward the stairs to make my way to my car.
We now all know what happened next of course, but in the moment, and for the next few days, there wasn’t a real appreciation for what was actually occurring.
I do remember a very frightened call from my wife at the time; I was an hour out of Toronto and the towers were coming down.
I remember seeing an AWAC jet circling around Trenton, near the Canadian air base and I remember starting to realize that something very different , very scary, was happening.
And I just kept heading to the show, as did many in Canada’s aftermarket. There was work to be done.
When all flights were grounded, quite a few were in Newfoundland where Bestbuy Distributors was holding its event and, true to form for the aftermarket, many there worked hard to secure ground and ferry transportation to make their way to the Quebec show.
And I guess this is what I remember most: despite the very scary time, this industry kept driving forward.
In the weeks, months, and years that followed, the “new normal” often got in the way of travel—and still does to this day—and so this industry has continued to find new ways to connect with customers and keep driving the industry forward.
It’s that kind of attitude that gives me great confidence in the deep ability of the aftermarket to forge ahead in difficult times, regardless of the source of the barriers great and small.
After all, if we can muster the strength to keep moving in the face of perhaps the biggest threat of our times, we can certainly overcome those of today.