Sons take family business into 21st century

BY Myron Love . Oct 21 03:00 am

Readers may recall the commercial Andrew and Doug MacIver were running on television last spring — in which they were showing a customer their empty lot on Oak Point Highway and pointing out where the store’s various departments would be located after it was built. Well, that vision has become reality.

 

The MacIver family moved into their new Ride Time location (87 Oak Point Hwy. at Selkirk Avenue) in early June, with the finishing touches completed at the beginning of this month. “We had a lot of fun with that ad,” Andrew MacIver says. “It was a good way to let people know we were moving and building here.”

The MacIver brothers have a storied pedigree in the auto industry. Their grandfather, Jack MacIver, was the founder of Midway Chrysler in downtown Winnipeg, and was a veteran of more than 60 years in auto sales. Their father, Doug MacIver Sr., was successful in his own right as an auto dealer in Toronto before returning to Winnipeg in 2006 to take charge of his father’s store. When Chrysler Canada pulled the plug on Midway as part of a national reduction in the number of Chrysler stores in operation, Doug Sr. turned to used car sales.

In 2009, Doug MacIver Sr., founded Ride Time in partnership with his sons and other family members. The family’s first location was in south Winnipeg.

Within a short time, the MacIvers opened a second location in the east end and, in 2012, were in the process of opening their third location at 87 Oak Point Rd. in the west end when Doug Sr. suddenly passed away.

“We decided after dad passed away to go through with the opening of the new location and close our east Winnipeg store,” Andrew says. “Without dad, we didn’t have enough manpower to run the three stores.”

The new building — which combines the operations of the two smaller locations in south and east Winnipeg — measures 16,000 square feet covering two floors. The building also includes a full service department with eight service bays and four detail bays.

“We have the most up-to-date equipment in our service department,” Doug says. “We can handle all service needs. We are located on the edge of a residential area and are getting more and more of the neighbours coming in for service work.”

The entire property is lit with energy-efficient LED lighting and the shop is kept warm by in-floor heating technology.

The new store, Doug notes, has room for close to 150 models (the MacIvers sell late-model vehicles) on the lot. “We also sell MV-1 wheelchair-accessible vehicles,” he says. “We have the franchise rights for Manitoba.”

“Our customers speak positively about our new building,” Andrew says. “Long-standing customers like seeing us growing and expanding to better meet their needs. And new customers appreciate the pleasant and enjoyable shopping experience we try to provide. What we are seeing is that where we used to be the second or third choice for a customer looking for a new car, we are now often the first choice.”

The centrepiece of the entire operation is the state-of-the-art photography studio, including the most modern rotating cameras.

“Most car buyers now shop online,” Andrew says. “We need to be on our toes. With our new photography studio, we are able to reduce the time it takes to get the vehicle ready for sale. We have streamlined the reconditioning process and integrated the process with photographing the vehicle and putting the photos online.”

It is Ride Time’s presence online that sets it apart from the competition. “We are the only dealer who can provide viewers with a 360 degree look at vehicles online,” Doug says. “We have the largest presence on YouTube of any dealer we are familiar with. We have over four million viewers.”

Andrew reports that the brothers are also making changes to the company website (ridetime.ca).

“We hope to have the changes to our website in operation by the end of the month,” he says. “Customers will be better able to interact with the website. You will be able to see the vehicle from the inside and outside and under the hood. You can also zoom in on specific areas.”

“While Winnipeg will always be the hub of our operation,” Andrew adds, “we are selling cars across Canada and into the United States. And we are getting inquiries from Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.”

myjolove1@gmail.com

 

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