“The only constant in life is change” – Heraclitus.
After 40 years located in Port Hardy, The EJ Klassen GM dealership celebrated its last day in business on Friday.
Owner Cory Klassen sat down for an interview with the North Island Gazette on Jan. 31, confirming it was officially the last day of doing business as EJ Klassen Motorcade Limited and “the keys will be transferring over to the new ownership group, which is the Applewood Auto Group.”
Klassen stated the company would spend its last day in business selling off their remaining inventory while also having a get-together with new and old staff.
As for his father Ernie, Klassen said he’s actually been retired “officially for quite a few years now, but he was still president of the company, and as for myself, I don’t have any immediate plans — I’m going to take a little bit of time and go find a beach and relax for a couple of weeks before I make any life decisions going forward.”
When asked what will happen to the dealership and its staff now that Applewood has purchased the business, Klassen pointed out that the two main stipulations for the sale were “the community gets to keep a GM franchise in the North Island, and even more important than that is the 18 or 19 full time staff members that we wanted to make sure had a continuing job going forward with the new company.”
Looking back over the years, Klassen reminisced on the history of the dealership, stating his uncle started the business in 1978, and then Ernie “bought it from my uncle and took over in 1985, and I came up here in 1994 to work full time after being away for a couple years going to school.”
Any favourite memories from over the years?
“All of them,” he said. “I’ve always said one of the most intriguing parts of this entire industry is that you never wake up in the morning and expect your day to go one way and then come home at the end of the day and that’s exactly how it went — it keeps you on your toes, which kept me interested.”
All told, Klassen feels that operating for 40 years as an independent business was an incredible feat. “The way the industry is going now, it’s definitely moving toward dealer groups, multiple dealerships and multiple different facilities, and we were able to combat that for decades, and that’s because of the support of the Tri-Port area and all the other local communities up here.”
He added that the main thing he wanted to say is “it’s very tough to have a family run business that counts solely on one economic area. The biggest thank you goes to everybody from suppliers, to staff, and to the customers who always came to us with their automotive needs.”