Held at the beautiful Queen’s Landing in Niagara-On-The-Lake, the NAPA Ontario Associate Owner’s Conference was kicked off by UAP president Alain Masse and Ontario VP Jeff Van de Sande. During the three-day event, associate store owners participated in breakout sessions to learn about the latest software tools, new product SKUs, and new marketing initiatives.
These breakout sessions allowed store owners to learn about NAPA’s Operational Excellence program, a new High Voltage EV Certification Program, updates on IT to improve product and customer service efficiencies, and new efficiencies in retail management.
This year, NAPA included a selling trade show with 35+ booths offering special deals and draws for hockey tickets. The booths were busy throughout the show.
One of the event’s highlights was the expansion of High Voltage, NAPA’s EV training and certification program across Canada.
Martyn Johns, national director of NAPA AUTOPRO & Emerging Technologies, and Yves Racette, director of NAPA High Voltage, outlined the goals of the High Voltage program to position NAPA as a leader in the EV aftermarket for training, maintenance, and repair certification.
Government regulations require at least 20 per cent of new vehicles sold in Canada will be zero emission by 2026, at least 60 per cent by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2035.
NexDrive was created in Benelux at the initiative of Alliance Automotive Group (AAG), a leading distributor of car and truck parts in Europe and, like UAP, a subsidiary of Genuine Parts Company (GPC).
The network has existed since 2020 and already has over 100 service centres. The banner is now in Canada and will be supported by NAPA’s strong network of stores and distribution centres.
To be a technician in a NexDrive shop, certification is required. Techs must meet a specific set of criteria, including accredited technical training, specialized equipment and tools, strict safety standards, regular audits, and sourcing parts from a certified NAPA store.
The NexDrive electric vehicle maintenance and repair banner, exclusive to NAPA AUTOPRO Service Centres, will be added to all EV-certified NAPA locations.
Entertainment during the three-day event included a trip to the Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery, hosted by Jennifer Botterill, a four-time Olympic medalist (with three golds) and Doug Gilmore, former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs who played twenty years of professional hockey. Botterill and Gilmore chatted, signed autographs, and took pictures with NAPA delegates.
Keynote Speaker Jennifer Botterill is a five-time world champion who was named MVP of the World Championships twice. Delegates were inspired by the life experiences Botterill shared about the vital importance of teamwork in reaching her Olympic goals.
The Saturday evening dinner and wrap-up included comedic entertainer Bob Cates and his Comedy in Motion.
The following stores were recognized for their years of service:
5 years – Ideal Supply, Seaforth
10 years – Ideal Supply, New Hamburg
15 years – Allen’s Automotive Group, Little Current
20 years – Whyte Auto Parts, Ingersoll & Ideal Supply, Exeter
25 years – Campbellford Automotive Supplies, Campbellford
50 years – Doug’s Truck & Automotive, Manotick
70 years – Leamington Automotive, Leamington